4 June 2012

Nigeria: UNILAG Students Sue Jonathan Over Change of Name

Photo: Aliyu Adekunle
Second day of protest by students.

Lagos — Aggrieved students of the University of Lagos(UNILAG) now, Moshood Abiola University,Monday have dragged President Goodluck Jonathan to a Federal High Court in Lagos over the recent change of name of the institution.

Ten of the students filed the suit before Justice Mohammed Liman and it is slated for hearing on July 10,this year.

The students include;Sunday Asaolu,Julius Ayoola, Idowu Odumosu, Seyi Olowu and Oladapo Obasa.

Others are; Idowu Awopeju, Adebanjo Sunday, Femi Omotosho, Segun Ogunjobi and Aiyelabola.

In their originating summons, the students, are seeking declaration that the University of Lagos being a creation of an act of the National Assembly to wit:

University of Lagos Act, 1967(as amended), cannot be governed except in accordance with the provisions of the University of Lagos Act, 1967.

They are also seeking a declaration that power to change or amend the name of University of Lagos being a body corporate having perpetual succession with common seal as provided under the University of Lagos Act 1967(as amended) belongs to the National Legislatures.

They are further seeking the court's order declaration that the announcement contained in the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria's May 29th, 2012,

broadcast changing the name of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University is unconstitutional, ultra vires, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Besides,the students advanced two questions for the court's determination. These are;

(1) Whether the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his capacity as the Visitor qua Visitor to University of Lagos has the power under the University of

Lagos Act, 1967, to unilaterally change the name of the institution to Moshood Abiola University?

(2) Whether the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the exercise of the executive powers of the federation vested in him in Section 5 of the 1999

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can unilaterally change the name of University of Lagos without recourse to the National Assembly?

In an 11-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to by one of the students, Sunday Gabriel Asaolu, of the Faculty of Law, the students averred that the unilateral change of the name of the University of Lagos sent great alarm and panic to the entire community of the institution.

They averred that the alarm and panic generated by this assault on the University community by the change of name incited the entire students of the school into spontaneous protests.

They further averred that the protests has led to the suspension of all academic activities and the sending home of the students with its attendants heavy social and pecuniary costs to all the students.

Meanwhile,the court has given the students leave to serve the originating summons, affidavit in support and the accompanying documents on the defendant (President Jonathan).

The President had in his Democracy Day broadcast to the nation announced the renaming of UNILAG to Moshood Abiola University to honour the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola for his iconic roles in the nation's democracy.

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