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On UNEC Campus Shutdown…

A lot of you must have heard that the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria (UNEC) has been shut down indefinitely following students’ protest. If you haven’t, please check the image below;

2016 UNEC Protest - DVC Notice of Closure

To be frank, I have never really bothered to follow the whole issue to understand what was happening there until moments ago when I stumbled upon a public notice said to have beeen released by the UNEC SUG.

You see, I have always had this opinion that “genuine Students Unionism” is long dead. However, there are certain observations I made from the said public notice that I have not seen in a long time in the history of UNN SUG.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not endorsing anybody or any action/inaction as I have not even done a thorough investigation to get what’s on ground, but I observed certain things from this public notice that impressed me and thought it’s worth sharing here. Why not go ahead – read, digest and carry out your private investigation on the alleged SUG released notice below;


The protest by students of the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria, came as a results of the Management’s Unwillingness to improve the living/welfare conditions of the students to a near manageable standard, particularly in the area of Electricity, coupled with the fast approaching second semester examination.

According to a student, who pleaded anonymity, the Management, have been asked to improve her efforts in tackling the horrendous light situation in the enugu campus, where professional students(of medicine, Nursing, Health sciences, Law, accounting, etc) argued that they only get 2hrs of power supply in 24 hours of the day. This request as we gathered has been sent since early May, by the Students Union, on behalf of the students (when the new Officials of the Student Union succeeded the outgoing one), and has always been an issue of deliberation whenever the management and officials of the Union meet.

The Enugu campus of the University, has 2 generators, a 500KVA generator, and another 800KVA generator, which has been said to be overdue for replacement. These generators according to reports gathered are over 14 year old, and recently, have been breaking down almost every week, as they seem to have overstayed their life span.

Sensing increasing tension among the students, and chatters of an intending protest, especially as the exams are close at hand, with the students largely unprepared due to the unavailability of Light to read, the Student Union intervened by;
1. Going on a Sit at Hostel Strike action, where classrooms were locked and the students remained in their hostel, till the current issue is resolved.
2. Pressed harder on the Authorities to find any means of providing power to the students from 7pm to 12 midnight, so the students can read.
3. Demanded that the exams be shifted to compensate for days lost during the power issue, so the students can be properly prepared for their examination.

This isn’t because power is the only crisis the school is having, but because, it is the major crisis capable of causing a protest. It would be gathered that last year(2015), in the same month(june), the University was shut down over the same issue, and in over 1 year, it is quite shameful that history is repeating itself again in the very same way.
The student welfare has been compromised terribly, beyond remedy, in the areas of

1. Water(bought for N30 a keg)
2. light(only 2hrs of light in a day of 24hrs)
3. Overcrowding in hostel rooms(as much as 8-12 in a single room)
4. Internet Service(WIFI), which each student paid N8,000 for.
5. Toilet/Bathroom(terrible to behold)
6. Long grasses around the hostels leading to snake bites, just to mention a few.

Infact, one can say categorically, that the only good thing about UNEC, are the wonderful Lecturers, who are truly student friendly. No doubts, our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Smart Uchegbu are very student friendly, but with a recurrence of last year’s incident over the same issue. A lot of questions need to be asked in that regards.

According to the Campus’s Director of works, the only solution to the power crisis in the Campus is a new 1500KVA standalone generator, capable of powering the resources of the campus, without being overloaded, and this, was the suggestion made by the Students Union to the Management, together with the option of moving the Staffs generator and Medical Centre generator to the students use, till the new one is brought, in order to douse the growing tension and for the students to return back to classes.

There were varying amount of Negotiation during the first week of the sit at hostel strike action by the Students Union, an action which was applauded by all and sundry, including the Acting Associate dean of Students Affairs, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, the Secretary to the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Director Of ICT and other members of the negotiating council, as a well thought out and matured way of handling such crisis, the first ever of such action by student leaders. The students demands were made known to the management by Union leaders and the management(represented by the Deputy Vice chancellor), promised to see the Vice chancellor in Nsukka on Friday, 10th June, during a Council meeting and convey the requests.

For one week, there were a lot of deliberations by both parties, which ended with the Leadership of the Student Union calling for a students congress on Friday, 10th, June to reach a concensus with the students. The students voted unanimously to continue the strike till light has been provided from 7-12 midnight. This decision was further upheld in the Joint Consultative Council meeting of the Students Union, comprising of all Faculty and Departmental presidents and officials, as well as fellowship presidents and class reps, and it was further suggested at the meeting that they would hold a peaceful demonstration on monday morning, an action which was carried out to perfection, as not even a fly was killed.

At a point during the demonstration, students wanted to leave the school environment, to head to the National Media and Publicity(NTA Television), and it took the intervention of the Student Union Officials to curtail that and keep them in check, ensuring that the demonstration ended peacefully, an event, that can be confirmed by the Deputy Chief Security Officer(DCSO) of the University.

On this faithful monday, a meeting was scheduled to hold between the Leadership of the Students Union(including members of the JCC), and the University management. The meeting came to an end by past 2pm, after which it was gathered that officials of the students Union were finally comfortable with the proposals of the University Authority, which was conveyed by the Director of ICT, Mr. Olisa who was representing the Vice Chancellor of the University as follows;
1. The University has agreed to purchase a new 1500KVA generator and the process to withdraw the required funds from the TSA is already in progress.
2. The University has agreed to the students demand to modify the Semester Academic calendar.
3. Generator power would be extended to 2hrs 30mins for the 1 week duration the management requested to get the new gen.

With this demands met, the Authorities of the Students Union agreed to call off her strike action, and open the locked classrooms so the students can return back to the classrooms, and the meeting came to an end, with a resolution finally reached.

These information was passed along to the expectant students, but was received with mixed reaction, with majority of the students insisting that its all false promise and that they are not willing to go back to the classroom till they have seen the generator, the students Union officials did their best to convince the aggrieved students to give the management a week to provide the generator as they promised and if after that, it wasn’t done, they can then return back to the lecture boycott.

As agreed, the Students Union opened all the locked classrooms, so that lectures and academic activities can commence the following tuesday.

HOW THE NIGHT PROTEST BROKE OUT: According to Information gathered from various sources;
The students were in their hostels that monday night, and the generator lights were on. After less than 45 minutes, the generator was moved to the other hostels(sharing pattern), not lasting up to the promised 2hrs 30 minutes. This action infuriated the students, mainly males, who started turning out one after another, and headed to the generator house, and from there to the SUG officials hostel rooms, looking for the officials with the intent of assaulting, alleging that they(The SUG officials), have collected Money from the Management and decided to withdraw from the struggle.
In this process, the Clerk of the SUG House of Reps, Rt. Hon. Christian was assaulted with an Iron in the back resulting in a serious injury, while other officials ran for their lives, in the dark of the night.

The Campus security officials as well as the Deputy Vice Chancellor were notified in the night by various officials of the Union, reporting the event going on, and they were advised by the authorities to seek a way to leave the hostels.

The protesting students(mostly masked) then headed out into the open campus, damaging faulty and workings street lights alike, as well as glasses of buildings, cars and buses, including;

– the University Main Hall(all glasses)
– the Student Affairs
– the library
– Lady Ibiam Female Hostel
– Shuttle buses
– SUG Secretariat
– Security Office
– Door to DVC’s administrative office
– private cars
Among others

The student Union(currently suspended), ensured that they used all methods of peaceful negotiation during the period of crisis and continue to serve as a mediator between the Authorities and the students, while also protecting the image of the University of Nigeria. Indeed, the Union has worked for the interest of the University as well as its students which she was constituted to represent.

It is sad that a couple of students were unable to control their emotions and allow their grievance/emotions overtake them, and in the process, engage other students in the acts of violence and destruction of School and private properties.
The Union Officials(though suspended), strongly condemns such acts of violence, and still affirm that in matters of crisis, Diplomacy and dialogue still remains the only and absolute way of resolving dispute, which produce gainful endings.

“To this end, we must learn to always employ the acts of dialogue and diplomacy in engaging other parties in any issue of dispute in order to achieve a lasting and progressive resolution.”- SUG UNEC

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Comments (16)

  • please I need the help of a law student. I want get a correct information from him or her.

  • hmmm
    may God help us…
    i need to go back to schl …

  • It’s disheartening, what is happening to our Alma mata? Please all hands should be on deck, the SUG, the school Administration and the Alumni Association should come together and put a stop to this menace,settle the light issue and think of the development of the school.. God Bless UNEC please update on the Post graduate entrance exam

  • the dvc said the rich will keep flying there kids abroad while the poor will go and buy another jamb form if d sug doesn’t open d class rooms that they locked this and many more of his utterances geared d destruction of things…with the MB result DAT was just released with a massive failure which was d main concern of the sug as most of them complained of bad reading environment….. which if u r close to unec u will get d gist very well… maybe wat d dvc was talking about is that most of us In d skull r of d poor masses and doesn’t deserve a good reading environment

  • d student were masked? dats not true…d management of our great school unec should do somthing abt dis closure…i also heard d student most especially business student were insulted by the DVC ….y is nobody talking about dat coz i tink dats wot caused d violence nd protest of d guys. not like i am in support of d whole violence but i tink dats d only tin dat moves d management of dis school to take action. And one more thing plz give us d full story,i mean d whole true story nd dnt coverup for any party.

  • Indeed this a sad news. However, what now happens to those who bought PG forms and find their faculties in Enugu Campus?

  • its true… I was really scared that day… but I believe the strike will be called off soon…. but students are definitely going to pay for damages..

  • datz d truth make dem open school for us oh

  • its quite disheartning as a past medical student it bites to have ur stay in sch postponed by a day let alone indefinately

  • Well, the mamnagement should try possible as their can to provide the necessary requirement for the students.

  • B4 a comment we nid 2 hear 4rm d oda source dis is one side stry nd if care is nt taking we bcms sentiment in our judgement

  • I do hope the post graduate admission process will not be affected.

  • All I have to say is that the students refuse to learn from what happened to other schools that protested and the solution is that students should use lamp and read for there exams instead of engaging in a senseless protest. Everybody should learn that this is Nigeria where students are not listened to.

    • Bro u say they should read wit lamps.with what light will the charge the lamps.Try asking those medical students who failed massively mostly due to lack of light then come and tell me what they say.

  • Hmmmm! indefinite closure of Enugu Campus? Then what happens to those who just bought their post graduate form awaiting screening on 28th and whose departments are in Enugu campus? Can anyone answer me plz because am tensed already. I just bought my post graduate form


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