A protest staged by members of the National Association of Nigerian Students on Tuesday resulted in a gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The protest took place just after the Sagamu Interchange section of the expressway, inwards Lagos
One of our correspondents, who was at the scene, reported that students chanted solidarity songs while lamenting the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The students said they would continue to occupy major highways in protest against the ongoing ASUU strike demanding an immediate end to the strike.
The protest led to traffic jam which left motorists and passengers stranded.
Speaking to The Punch, NANS’ Public Relations Officer, South-West, Giwa Temitope, slammed the government for failing to meet ASUU’s demands which had left students at the receiving end.
He said, “We are here to pour out our anger. We are not happy, we are sad. The Federal Government has been toying with us, toying with our hearts, our feelings, and our future. They are underfunding the education sector. That is why we are here.”
Asked about the traffic jam caused by their protest, Temitope said the protesters were controlling it and were being assisted by the police and some soldiers.
In an interview with The Punch, a motorist, identified simply as Taju, lamented the traffic jam caused by the protesters.
“Had it been I knew this would happen, I won’t have set out on a journey today because I still have to face the traffic at the Magboro to Berger section of this road,” he said.
When the newspaper reached out to the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps, Ogun State, Florence Okpe, she said she was aware of the situation.
“Yes, I am aware. Both sections of the expressway are blocked because of the ongoing protest on that axis. FRSC operatives are fully on the ground managing the situation with other sister organisations like the police,” she said.
Meanwhile, NANS has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the no-work-no-pay policy on the striking union.
According to a statement by the coordinator of NANS South West, Emmanuel Olatunji, the association made this known during the protest.
The statement read in part, “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 Buhari-led government is failing in its promises to revamp education.
“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.”
The ASUU Chairman, Ebonyi State University Chapter, Dr Ikechukwu Igwenyi, has urged the national leadership of the union to go back to the drawing board and review the 2009 agreement it entered with the Federal Government.
This was as the varsity don stressed that the N1.1trillion outstanding revitalisation fund for the nation’s universities was no longer tenable, saying the current economic realities did not match with the hitherto pact the union entered with the authorities in 2009.
He stated this in a statement, on Tuesday, in Abakaliki.