The Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says the reduction in the reparation fee from N25,000 to N15,000 imposed on students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, (AAAU) as a condition for their readmission into the institution, sequel to the rampage that greeted the death of one of them, Afolabi Ojo, is unacceptable and a travesty of justice.
A statement issued by the party’s director of media and publicity, Steve Otaloro, on Wednesday, said the reduction in the fee has given credence to the party’s earlier statements that the school authority erred in imposing levy on the students in the first place.
He re-emphasised that the levy was hurriedly done to divert the attention of the public from government negligence in doing the needful for the state university noting that there was no reason students should be punished for a preventable death of one of their colleagues.
Otaloro said the government was culpable for the action of the students when it refused to provide a backup healthcare facility for Ojo, like it actually participated in his death.
“Making scapegoats out of the students is a precarious move the government applied to save its face in the public. But we have bad news for you – it’s not working and will never work as the public had since exonerated the helpless students.
“While not condoning any act of violence, we must however get things right. It’s natural that emotions always run high in human seeing the death of a colleague that could be prevented; the way Afolabi Ojo seems to have been killed unattended to through non provision of good healthcare services at his disposal.
“If adequate Medicare had been provided for him- as he might have probably paid for health centre fee as part of school fee, the situation would have been different and understandable. The students would not have gone on peaceful demonstration that was allegedly hijacked by hoodlums and resulted in violence.
“As we all know, times are hard in the state, people are hungry and consequently angry with the government for non payment of their salaries for an unprecedented five months which had resulted in low economic activities in the state. Anyone could have tapped on the people’s anger for the PDP-led government in the state to perpetrate violence.
“Therefore, forcing the students to pay reparation for a crime they did not commit- as there was no investigation that suggests otherwise, and having lost one of their colleagues to the cold hand of death in such a painful, shocking and unforgiving manner is excruciating enough to provoke another rounds of anger at the slightest provocation after their resumption.
“It’s a callous reflection of their desire not to give value for life and a blatant disregard to the feelings of the parents of the deceased who are still grieving the loss of their son at this time and hoping to put a closure to the actual cause of the death of their only son by instituting a panel of inquiry to that effect instead of capitalising on their son’s death to raise unwarranted funds and attract a flurry of press statement hostile to the school authority which unfortunately includes their son’s name”, the party stressed.