Students yesterday blocked the Ibadan- Ilesha-Akure Expressway in protest against the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The development led to heavy vehicular traffic on the road linking the South West to the North, with travellers and some residents stranded. The protesters, drawn from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA); Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) and the Olusegun Agagu University of Technology, Okitipupa (OAUSTECH), converged on FUTA’s gate where they barricaded the highway.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as “End ASUU Strike,” “Save Our Future,” “FG, We’ve Had Enough,” “We are tired” and “Make ASUU return to work”. They vowed to continue to disrupt traffic on the road until ASUU calls off the strike which began on February 14.
The students berated the Federal Government for not yielding to ASUU’s demands. While others turned the highway into a football pitch, other protesters said they would not leave the highway until the government meets ASUU’s demands.
Vice-Chairman, National Association of University Students (NAUS), Ondo chapter, Comrade Shittu Afolarin, said the prolonged strike has shown that the Federal Government is not concerned about the plight of students. Afolarin said: “If it takes us three weeks, we will stay here until the Federal Government answers ASUU. They are just playing us.
All of them have been obtaining forms, not N10,000 forms but for a whooping sum of N100 million.” Also, students under the directive of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) yesterday blocked the University of Ibadan-Sango and Bodija- Mokola roads in Ibadan in protest against the ASUU strike. They blocked all other routes leading to the University of Ibadan and Sango from Ojoo, thus forcing commuters to find alternative routes.
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The protesters vowed to continue to occupy the roads for as long as their campuses remain shut. One of the students, Olumide Dada, told New Telegraph that the strike is affecting not only the students but their parents. At about 1 pm the protesters armed with placards stormed the Agodi Government Secretariat trying to gain entry.
However, police, soldiers and other security officials shut the gates. Heavy traffic was built as the students prevented vehicles from entering or moving out of the secretariat. As of the time of filing this report, the students were still at the entrance of the secretariat singing solidarity songs and clapping.