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ASUU strike: FG describes protesting students as ‘law breakers’


The Federal Government, yesterday, described as illegal a protest staged by members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Tuesday which resulted in a gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

For second consecutive days, students, under the aegis of NANS, had obstructed traffic on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and in the Oyo State capital.


The protracted strike by ASUU has shut the nation’s university system since February 14.

The first barricade took place just after the Sagamu Interchange section of the expressway, inward Lagos.

In Ibadan, yesterday, students barricaded the Ibadan tollgate axis of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and caused logjam on the highway for some hours. They had placards and chanted solidarity songs as they lamented the seven-month strike. They vowed to besiege major highway and others to drive home their demand to end the strike.


Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, while responding to questions from State House Correspondents after a Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the Nigerian constitution recognises and protects citizens’ right to public protests but does not empower any Nigerian to inflict pain and inconvenience on other people.

On the recurrent gridlock on the uncompleted sections of the highway, Fashola appealed for more patience, saying there was no alternative route in the already built-up areas. “Once again, I apologise and empathise with commuters who need that place to get on with their lives. It’s the place we left to the last because it’s the most built-up area, the last six kilometres into Lagos; very densely populated and occupied. There’s very little room for alternative routes for people. So, you just have to bear with us. I also heard that some aggrieved students, under the aegis of NANS, are going to the road to protest. My respectful view is that it is not helpful at all to the citizens. The right to protest is a very well-protected right in our constitution, but it does not include the right to inflict pain and inconvenience on other people. And so, while the protests can go on, they should refrain from blocking the road in order to do their protests. That, in itself, is a violation of law.”

Regardless, NANS has threatened to shut down the whole of Nigeria, including the Presidential Villa in Abuja, if urgent steps were not taken by government to end the ongoing strike embarked on by ASUU.

Its National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Yisa, made the disclosure, yesterday, during a protest staged by students to demand re-opening of universities in.


“It is embarrassing that for the past seven months, Nigerian students have been denied access to education. This deliberate act insults the collective intelligence of Nigerian students, both home and in the diaspora. It shows the lackadaisical attitude of the ruling elite towards the plight of the Nigerian people.

“No one could have imagined there would be a time in the history of this country when ivory towers would be under lock and key as a result of governmental crass irresponsibility. Alas! It is happening right in our time.

“But, as Nigerian students, we owe it a duty to this generation and generations unborn to bequeath to them better days so that they won’t see the present abnormalities as the norm.


“The response of the Federal Government through the ministries of Labour and Education, headed by Chris Ngige, and Adamu Adamu respectively, reeks of arrogance and ignorance. This has further shown this government lacks the feeling of empathy and humanness.

“In furthering our demands, we declare this agitation shall be sustained to the latter. We have begun a significant action and we shall sustain it till our demands are met. We pass a vote of no confidence in both 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 President 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 not acceptable to all the millions of students in Nigeria.

“We will, by this statement, not beg again. We will be mobilising all students to shut down the country – without excluding the Presidential Villa.”

After the protest, the students were led to the venue of the interactive session between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West with the former vice president and the 2023 PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the governor of Delta State, at Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Yisa said Atiku has not taken any position to identify with the students since university lecturers began the strike. It could not be confirmed if they were allowed to meet Atiku, at the programme, which was attended by stakeholders across all the six states of South West, including Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.

However, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said it was providing technical support to the Federal Government to ensure the amendment of labour laws.

Vanessa Phala, ILO country director, made the disclosure at the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Abuja, yetserday.

Phala spoke on the sideline of the conference after a panel discussion on the topic: “Workforce Globalisation: Opportunities and Threat.’’

She said ILO was playing a role in the dispute between ASUU and government.

“The role that we can play is not different from the role that we are already playing. I must indicate that the Federal Government has been in the process of reviewing labour laws and ILO has been in the forefront providing technical support. This is to make sure the revision is in line with some of the conventions that the government has ratified.



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