Thursday, March 20, 2014

BOWEN HARAM


I have been thinking of a more dramatic way to start this post but I think the tale itself is laced with enough drama. I am still shocked that what took place within the last 24 hrs was even a possibility. History was made today when the students of a missionary private university in Nigeria, Bowen University, Iwo, rioted and destroyed property in the school premises. Stories are better heard from the horse’s mouth right? Well, I am the horse because I am a student of the university.

Last night at about 9pm, I was happily chewing on my chocolate parago at a friend’s fiancĂ©e’s party when I heard from someone that boys were rioting at their hostels. Before we could wrap our heads around that, there was news of broken windows, car windshields, furniture etc. The group of students moved the demonstration to the main campus where most of the girls reside and began the demolition of shops and merchandise. Come and see free drinks ooo. Some girls all rushed out to witness it all while the rest who were locked in their hostels contributed with screams and songs like “solidarity for ever…” Classrooms and labs were also broken into and vandalized. All the cars and buildings at the administrative block were also vandalized. Eventually, at almost midnight, the cops were called to calm the situation down which they did with tear gas. However, the situation was not totally put to rest since there was still some unrest even up to 3am.

From all I have gathered, the students seem fed up with all the old and ‘new’ rules and according to them, unnecessary constraints associated with the new government. Lately, these university students have been made to adopt a feeding timetable that conflicts with their class schedules, thus adversely affecting their nutrition. I suppose a hungry man is an angry man. They have also been made to compulsorily take food flasks to cafeterias if food would be sold to them. All the previously existing rules seemed to be stiffened. Yesterday, news sprouted about new rules which included that all students should leave the hostels by 8am and return by 4pm, whether or not they have classes. Meanwhile the cafeterias must not accommodate them unless it’s their ‘mealtime’. Where are these students supposed to stay? Under the sun? Another rumor also came up about a suspected increment in the school fees. “What happened to the #540,000+?” they asked. I also heard one about ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ grades all amounting to a carry-over. In short, I’d say the explosion was caused by stored up anger and frustration on the part of the students. The students have complained of a whole lot of unfavorable conditions and treatments all to no avail. They probably just needed the additional lack of light and water for 4 days to trigger it.

As early as 6am, all students trooped out to the main campus to feed their eyes as well as negotiate with the school authority on the release of some students who were arrested as well as convey their grievances. The dialogue was unfavorable, hence, the continuation of the protest and even a little more vandalism. The students refused to stop saying that they would not back down until their peers who were arrested are released. The whole thing stretched out till about 3pm when the school management passed a memo saying that the school was to be closed down temporarily till further notice, and that all students should leave the campus effective immediately. Unfortunately, I think those students are yet to be released.

So my people, that’s how I landed in Ibadan. Honestly, I never believed that Bowenites (the generation changers) would ever gather the liver to even complain out loud let alone riot and destroy stuff. I guess the highest form of madness is born by anger. Someone may say that violence isn’t always the answer; while I agree with that, I think that the students had to prove a point and since diplomacy had failed them in times past, took the laws into their hands. We all know how youths can be. Again, while I feel that vandalism and violence are not ideal, I also think that these private schools should be responsive to the yearnings of the students and should cut down on the unnecessary rules and constraints. These students are human and are grown ass adults so while they mean to teach and discipline them, some respect would do. Feed a man till his too full and he just might puke on you.

The English don too much. Fact is, I never experience this kain tin for my life. It was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t mean to sound like I enjoyed it all but man……it was exciting.  If I had graduated before this event, I for just dey see pix on dp, dey read am for Linda Ikeji’s blog. Good timing ey? Lol. So today, our omo mummies turned omo ghetto. One thing I can say for sure is that nobody saw this coming. Not the school, not even the students. Today was supposed to be ‘cultural day’ with suya night to make things pop. I was even supposed to open the evening service with a prayer in Igbo *pops collar* Na wa oo. The generation changers sure triggered a revolution. We hope things are put under control soon so that the students can resume and continue with their studies.


Here are some pictures that will give you a LITTLE idea of what went down at BUI today.