Fresh students protest from the University of Lagos would have dominated Monday (March 4) headlines across the country if not for the timely intervention of the school authority.
Only that this time the Great Akokaites (as UNILAG students are fondly called) would not be protesting a name change imposed by an external force; they would rather be revolting against the school itself.
The course convener of GST102 (Philosophy and Logic), Professor F. N. Ndubuisi, had threatened all doing the course that failure to buy the recommended text – a 281-page book he published and was selling for N1800 alongside a secondary-school-styled 36-page workbook – would result in automatic carry-over.
We gathered that UNILAG bookshop ran out of its stock of “Philosophy, Logic and Philosophy of Science” – the book in question – two times in the past week because of the sudden surge in demand.
The hapless students, after making it through long queues at the bookshop to buy the book last Friday, beat the Saturday morning drag to jostle for seats in rooms 8, 9 and 10 of the Faculty of Business Administration with a significant spill over into the Law Annex nearby on a day they were supposed to rest their brains in preparation for the first semester examination.
The majority of the students, who comprised all year one and direct entry students, and students resitting the course, purchased the book out of their lean wallets and were already writing the test when the Dean of student Affairs, Prof. Olukayode Amund, came around to declare the proceeding null and void.
According to a credible source who wants to remain anonymous, a member of the student association executive had implored the lecturer to cancel the test as it contravened Item Number Six of the “harassment notice” publicly displayed at the school’s faculties by the Counselling Unit. The lecturer remained adamant and told the student executive that there was nothing anybody could do to stop the test.
The provision which the Logic professor was adamant on contravening puts forcing students to buy textbooks of any kind through any means on the same plane with soliciting sex from students in exchange for marks.
Our source stated that the student immediately dialled the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Rahman Bello, and told him students were ready to protest enmass the following Monday if the test was allowed to hold. The VC then called the DSA who intervene appropriately by stopping the erring lecturer from “harassing the students.”
The DSA also directed that all such tests slated for the same day in other faculties be cancelled and the examination for the course be graded over 100.
Meanwhile, the lecturer came under heavy criticism for coercing students into buying his book. The VC also hammered hard on the HOD of the department for allowing such gross harassment of students to take place under his watch.
We authoritatively inform you that the computer-based GST examination has already started and is being graded over a 100 marks.
However, the same test had held at the Faculty of Engineering last Thursday without any incident where some of the students who wrote it queried it necessity.
“I was surprised to see it was an open book test that had to be done in the workbook, it was not well coordinated, and was a total waste of time,” said an anonymity-craving 100 level student of the Faculty of Engineering after she learnt that the test was cancelled.
The case of such harassment is not isolated in UNILAG where some lecturers have sacrificed the sanctity of qualitative education on the altar of profits made from the books they force down the throat of the students they were meant to mentor.
There was a similar case last year when the harassment of students was fully perpetrated under the nose of the authorities by the convener of a computer course – GST214 – who sold a text/log book for N2000 and mandated all students who bought the book to register their names before they were allowed to sit for the main test.
The recent case of Prof. Ndubuisi came too close to the examination period when students’ financial resources run thin.
“A friend of mine borrowed about N6000 to buy this book and two other GST books,” said a potential victim of the intended harassment who does not want to be named for the fear of victimisation.