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ASUU STRIKE: NANS protests grounds Lagos-Ibadan expressway

By Francis Ajuonuma, with agency report
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) yesterday blocked the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in protest against the continued closure of the nation’s universities over the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The students in their hundreds blocked the expressway at Sagamu interchange in Ogun, leading to gridlock on the ever-busy road.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the situation left many motorists plying the road stranded with their passengers.

All entreaties to the aggrieved students by motorists and commuters did not yield any result as members insisted that they would not leave the road until their demands are met by the Federal Government.

NAN recalls that ASUU had on February 14 embarked on an indefinite strike on the premise of inadequate funding of public universities, among other demands.

The protesting students, armed with placards of various inscriptions, were chanting solidarity songs, saying that they were tired of staying at home and demanded an end to the strike.

They also insisted that the Federal Government should yield to the demands of their lecturers for them to call off the strike.

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In his reactions, NANS Chairman, Oyo State chapter, Mr Abidemi Adeleke, said that the students’ action followed the unresolved impasse between the Federal Government and the university lecturers.

Adeleke said, “The protest was due to the lingering impasse between the Federal Government and ASUU, which had defied all solutions.

“We want the Federal Government to end the ASUU strike permanently that is why we are on the road protesting. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are just getting started. Today, we are live at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, just after Sagamu Interchange.

“And, tomorrow, by the special grace of God, we will be at another location, next tomorrow the same thing, until our voice is heard,” Adeleke said.

*Students ‘ll continue to occupy major highways until schools resume

Meanwhile, NANS) said its members in the nation’s tertiary institutions would continue to occupy major highways in protest against the ongoing nationwide strike.

Speaking at the Sagamu interchange on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during their protest, National Vice-President, NANS External Affairs, Mr Afeez Akinteye, said, “Our demand is not new; it is for the government to end the ASUU strike now.

“We have had enough of this. We started the protest today, we will continue until the strike is called off. We don’t want to know how they will do it, because the government has the money and the power.

“We are just interested in going back to the classrooms, they should fund education and end the ASUU strike. With the new leadership of NANS, it is not going to be business as usual.”

He said the protest would be continuous, adding that students were ready to give it all it takes to go back to the classrooms.

“We have packed our loads from our homes and we are now ready for this struggle until the strike is called off.

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“Over 500 of us from various universities nationwide are staging this protest, saying ‘End ASUU strike permanently,” Akinteye said.

Also, NANS Deputy Senate President, Mr Elvis Ekundina, said that students would continue to block all the federal roads until the government resolves the issues with ASUU.

Ekundina said that quick action should be taken to enable the students to return to the classrooms, saying that they were most affected by the current faceoff between the Federal Government and ASUU.

Commenting, a member of NANS, Mr Damilola Simeon, said that students were in support of proper funding of the nation’s educational sector.

Simeon appealed to the Federal Government to pay all the outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers.

”We are not in support of the policy of ‘No Work No Pay,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun, Mr Ahmed Umar, said his men were on top of traffic management at the location.

“FRSC in Ogun wishes to inform the motoring public on the ongoing protest on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, around Sagamu interchange down to Makun City.

“Motorists are advised to use alternative routes to avoid unnecessary delay based on the issue on the ground. FRSC operatives and other sister organisations are fully on the ground managing the situation,” he said.

Some of the motorists who spoke to NAN expressed displeasure over the situation, saying that the action had led to a heavy gridlock on the expressway.

 

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