University of Benin Suspends Students’ Union Government Following Staff Assault Incident

University of Benin Suspends Students’ Union Government Following Staff Assault Incident

Amforgod J. Olisa

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) has taken decisive action in response to a disturbing incident involving the Students’ Union Government (SUG) and university staff. The management has suspended the SUG indefinitely following an altercation that occurred during an interactive session at the University’s Senior Staff Club.

Reports indicate that students, led by the Students’ Union President, disrupted the event featuring an interactive session with the Edo State governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Olumide Akpata. Allegedly, the students were not notified about the event and demanded its cessation. Their protest escalated, resulting in the physical assault of several staff members, including Dr. Presley Osemwengie, a lecturer in the Department of Economics and member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIBEN branch, who sustained injuries requiring hospitalization.

Responding to the incident, the university management swiftly convened a panel to investigate the matter and ascertain the facts. Following due consideration of the panel’s report, the Vice Chancellor approved the suspension of the University’s Students Union with immediate effect.

In a statement released by A.A. Bobola, the Registrar of the university, the suspension was described as indefinite, with all SUG officers instructed to hand over union properties to the Dean of Students’ Affairs by Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Additionally, a Caretaker Committee comprising representatives from various academic units has been appointed to oversee student affairs during the suspension period.

The statement underscored the seriousness with which the university views the incident, emphasizing the need for compliance from the erstwhile union officers and the broader university community.

This development serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining decorum and respect within academic institutions. It is incumbent upon students and university authorities to foster a conducive environment for dialogue and engagement, while also upholding principles of civility and mutual respect.

As the UNIBEN community navigates this challenging period, it is hoped that lessons will be learned, and efforts will be made to promote harmony and understanding among all stakeholders. In the pursuit of academic excellence and holistic development, collaboration and constructive engagement remain paramount.

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