Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Motorists and commercial motorcyclists, yesterday had a hectic day in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, as students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) blocked major roads to protest against the prolonged nationwide strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The rally was organised by the NANS/Joint Campus Committee, Ekiti axis, to reawaken the federal government to hearken to ASUU’s demands.
The protest led by NANS’ National
President, Sunday Asefon, was attended by students of Ekiti State University and the Federal University, Oye Ekiti.
Their counterparts from other institutions also joined the protest in solidarity.
As early as 7a.m., the students in their large numbers had massed at Adebayo area and trekked to Fajuyi Park, where they mounted barricades at frequent intervals on the Ado-Adebayo-Iworoko road.
These barricades led to chaotic traffic jam on that route with motorists traveling along that axis taking alternative roads to avoid being held up in the traffic snarl.
The visibly enraged students chanted various anti-government songs to deride President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government for lacking the administrative acumen and deft political move to resolve the lingering crisis.
Addressing the protesting students, Asefon said the country’s education is being stifled by protracted closure of the country’s ivory towers.
He posited that no nation can develop when its universities, considered to be veritable grounds for research, invention and building of knowledge base of the youths, are rendered functionless, with students left to rotten away without mercy.
The NANS president said the body is still planning a bigger rally under the nomenclature ‘Operation test-run’, that will shake the country over alleged inefficiency and ineptitude of the federal government to resolve the issue.
According to him, “What we are saying is that we are tired of staying at home. Our students want to return to school. How can the federal government be claiming of having no fund to accede to ASUU’s demands when corruption of huge magnitude was being perpetrated under it?
“The Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, was arrested for alleged N80 billion fraud. The former Managing Director of NDDC, Mr. Nsima Ekere, was also arrested by the EFCC for alleged N47 billion fraudand the government was claiming that there was no money in the treasury.
“Our demand is simple, the federal government must meet all the demands and conditions set by ASUU. We are tired of strike every time. Strike is exposing our students to crime and the best bet is to return to school.
“No nation can grow when its intellectual thrust is being debased. Our students are being debased and deprived of their rights to standard education.
“If our forefathers and leaders of this country had behaved like this during their reigns, those leading us today wouldn’t have got to where they are. They sacrificed everything for things to work well, and President Buhari and those in government must do same.
“This is not the rally that was being planned by the national body of NANS, that one will come soon. But I decided to join this because I am from Ekiti State, and I have to partake in solidarity.