TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Scores of students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, on Thursday prevented vehicular movements along Ife-Ibadan express road in Osun State in protest against prolonged industrial action embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The undergraduates, who converged on the busy road, directly facing their campus gate, said they could not afford to continue staying at home while the Federal Government reninges in acceding to demands of their striking lecturers.
The protesters, armed with Nigerian flags, banners and placards bearing varying inscriptions, marched along the Ife-Ibadan express way, after causing gridlock. Some of inscriptions read: “Fund Education Now”, “Education is not a Scam” among others.
The protesters who were joined by other members of the public chanted “End ASUU Strike”, vowed to make the protest a daily demonstration till ASUU demands were met by the Federal Government.
Amid other chants of solidarity songs compelling the Federal Government to put motions in place to allow for their return to their campus, the students, under the aegis of Fund Education Coalition, said government had failed education system.
They proceeded towards a major roundabout at the popular OUI roundabout at Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Olugbade Majeed said they would continue the protests until government signed the initial agreement it had with ASUU.
Majeed said, “We are protesting because the government has failed the educational system in Nigeria. And they have not met the demands of ASUU which they had been signed since 2009. We have been at home for three months.
“This particular government has been showing nonchalant attitude towards education by engaging in electoral activities while students are at home idle. You will agree with me that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.
“We don’t want to be turned to criminal elements, we don’t want to be turned to Yahoo Yahoo, we don’t want to be turned to prostitutes and that’s why we are agitating for our right.
“We are on the street to let our voices be heard because we can not continue to suffer in silence. Nothing has worked out under this government . No security. We are all aware that nowhere is safe in this country. Yet, government does not seem it fit to respond positively to the challenges confronting the education sector in the country.
“If there is proper education in Nigeria, there won’t be security threats as we’re having now, because proper and well educated persons will shy away from criminal activities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Osun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Wale Olokode was at the scene of the protest to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.