Students under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-West zone, on Tuesday blocked the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, protesting the ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The students, who gathered at the Sagamu interchange as early as 9am, blocked both sides of the highway preventing traffic flow both inward and outside Lagos.
Many travellers were trapped and commercial activities grounded following the protest.
The protesters were led by NANS Vice President, External Affairs, Akinteye Babatunde; Public Relations Officer, Giwa Yisa Temitope; Zone D Coordinator, Adegboye Emmanuel Olatunji; Deputy Senate President, Ekundina Elvis; Ondo JCC Chairman, Omotosho Surprise; Lagos JCC Chairman, Olusesi Tolulope Samson; Ogun JCC Chairman, Kehinde Damilola Simeon and Oyo JCC Chairman, Adeleke Quadri Abidemi.
The students, in their hundreds, demanded the immediate end to the strike which has entered its seventh month, urging the Nigerian government to meet the demands of the striking lecturers to enable them return to class.
“We have started a major action today on ASUU Strike. There is no point arguing about who is at fault or what is to be done. It is very clear that the rulers underfund education and the Buhari government is failing in its promises to revamp education,” a statement signed by the students’ movement PRO, Giwa Yisa and Zone D Coordinator, Adegboye Emmanuel Olatunji read.
“As it is today, no higher institution in Nigeria is world class. Yet, our so-called public servants travel all over the world spending billions to send their kids abroad for studies.
“As major stakeholders in the educational sector, we are the ones who can save ourselves. We have monitored the yearnings of students from campus to campus through their social media platforms and also in their public writings. Students all over Nigeria stand with ASUU. Our lecturers suffer the same hardships and mal-developments we suffer. The staff Houses are as bad as the Students Hostels. In South Africa, a Professor Laboratory is far more equipped than that of any university in Nigeria.
“History has been killed and undermined so we the youths do not know where we are coming from not to talk of knowing where we are headed. But we will not lament anymore. The new leadership in NANS is here to work with students to achieve our set aims and objectives. We believe that the students’ movement has its space in history. It is a task for which we vow to fulfill. We will never let Nigerian students down!
“It is on this note that we declare Forth: We Stand with ASUU. We Call on ASUU leadership for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss solidarity actions, and plan for the next phase of the struggles.
“We pass a vote of No Confidence on both the Ministers of Labour and Education. We call for the proper funding of the educational sector as against what has been attainable in the past seven years.
“We call on the Buhari government to pay all outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers. The policy of “No Work No Pay” is a Fascist one; it’s therefore condemnable and non-acceptable to all the millions of students in Nigeria.
“We will, by this statement, not beg again. We will be mobilizing all students to Shut Down the country (without excluding the Presidential villa). No Education, no movement.”
ASUU had embarked on a warning strike on February 14 after the union’s national executive council deliberated.
The union had accused the government of reneging on the agreements it reached to suspend its last industrial action in 2020.
ASUU also argued that the latest strike followed the government’s attitude towards the renegotiation of salaries and allowances as well as the adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payroll software.
The lecturers’ agitations cover the funding for the revitalisation of public universities and promotion arrears.
Other demands are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and the inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).