Students in Edo Protest ASUU Strike, Ask FG to Intervene
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Students from the various institutions of higher learning in Edo State yesterday, protested the continued strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The protest caused a major chaotic traffic situation in several parts of Benin City, the state capital for several hours as the students urged the federal government to intervene, vowing to continue a daily stay in the city centre until their demands are met.
The students, who mobilised themselves from University of Benin (UNIBEN), Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma (AAU), Federal Polytechnic Auchi, carried placards with various inscriptions and blocked the Oba Ovonramwen Square popularly called Ring Road to express their grievances which resulted in traffic jams around the axis, including Akpakpava, mission road.
Speaking on the issue, National Vice President, Special Duties of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Idiahi Thomas, faulted Nigeria’s educational sector, saying: “Our leaders have bastardised it, and, as it is, Nigerian students are at home and yet the government officials are busy purchasing forms for over N100 million,an amount presidents of other countries cannot earn constitutionally throughout their own tenure. If the federal government does not want us to remain here, they know obviously what to do. You are taking a course of four years to five years, now they spend six to seven years. Post Graduate students who are supposed to spend 18 months are spending two to three years and some get frustrated and abandon them.”
A student Union leader from Ekpoma Abumere Joseph said: “We are tired of staying at home, for the past three months we have not attended classes. I was supposed to graduate in April but as it is now, I don’t know when I will graduate. I have been in one level for close to two years, so we are tired.”
On his part, the President, Students Union Government (SUG) of UNIBEN, Foster Amadin said the strike is “suffocating the dreams of Nigerian students while the government is going about their electoral processes and the striking lecturers are going about their individual businesses.”
A civil right leader, Kola Edokpayi said the government does not respect the wishes of the people of Nigeria lamenting that “Our students are at home, yet the Minister of State for Education was able to buy a presidential nomination form of N100 million.”