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Lagos Police Open Fire, Arrest Student Activists Protesting Tuition Hike

Two student activists, Olorunfemi Adeyeye and Philip Olatinwo, were arrested and put in a Police van but their current location or destination remains unknown to other students familiar with them.

Police in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, have opened fire and arrested student activists during a protest, HumAngle has learned.

The incident, which happened today, Sept. 6, involved students of UNILAG protesting the recent hike in tuition fees.

“It was a scary scene,” Samuel Adedoyin, a final-year student of the school’s Department of Chemistry Science, who was present at the scene of the incident tells HumAngle in a telephone interview.

Adedoyin said he and other protesters converged at UNILAG junction (a few kilometres to the school gate) when operatives of the Lagos Police attacked them. An officer whom he is currently unable to identify ordered the other operatives to attack them, he says, while emphasizing that their protest had been peaceful.

The Police operatives also arrested and took with them some student activists, namely Olorunfemi Adeyeye and Philip Olatinwo. The activists who confirmed their arrests to HumAngle while still in the Police van said they did not know where they were being taken.

“They are shopping for more arrests,” Adeyeye said to HumAngle, adding that they were manhandled, and some students also injured in the process of scrambling away from gunshots and teargas.

“I and Philip Olatinwo are those that I know of,” Adeyeye said when asked how many were in Police custody.

But Samuel Adedoyin who is still on the streets, told HumAngle that others are missing.

“A lot of people are missing now and we can’t find them; even Femi, I can’t figure out his location right now.”

At the time HumAngle spoke with him, Adedoyin said he and other protesters were on their way to the school gate. The sounds of sirens from Police vehicles could not be missed While HumAngle was on the phone with Adedoyin.

“They are already trying to disperse this protest again, using violent means,” he said, shouting above the noise.

Alleged extortion

This receipt made available to HumAngle by Olorunfemi Adeyeye shows ₦9,000 naira as the fees paid but Adeyeye says the actual fee paid was 25,000. The caption shows that “damages” is also part of the payment. Photo: Adeyeye Olorunfemi.

Why they are protesting

The students are protesting the recent hike in fees in UNILAG.

According to a statement made available to HumAngle, students of the university are being “extorted.”

“In addition to over ₦200,000 obligatory fees, freshers are now forced to cough out 25,000 as a fee to be paid during Faculty registration, even though the amount written on the receipt is 9,000,” the statement by ‘Students Against Fee Hike,’ read in part.

The statement also found fault with the caption on the receipt which suggested that students are also paying for damages.

“This sounds strange to anyone who has gone to school (University),” the statement said, asking school authorities to step in.

Samuel Adedoyin said the association of students held a meeting with school authorities after an independent poll found that many students could not afford the recent increase.

“We presented these facts to them at the management meeting on Aug. 2; the management agreed to suspend the fee rejig and reconvene after consulting with members of ASUU and LASUU and the university stakeholders,” Adedoyin explained.

“We have been writing to them through appropriate channels to know how and when we will meet with them for further discussions but the management in their high-handedness started blackmailing us yesterday and calling us individuals who are not members of the University, even though they can clearly identify some of us.”

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Chigozie Victor

Chigozie Victor is a journalist and a creative writer. Her work focuses on SGBV, policy and security infrastructure. The graduate of English and Literature from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka is passionate about helping audiences understand salient issues through clear reporting and multimedia journalism. She tweets at @nwaanyi_manaria

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