ASUU strike: Activists, students shutdown Lagos
A crowd of university students, teachers, pro-democracy and human rights on Tuesday literarily brought Lagos to a standstill as they rose in protest against the poor state of education in the country.
The protest which was prompted primarily by the festering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) shut down the popular ikorodu road, causing traffic gridlock for several hours.
Mobile policemen strategically positioned to forestall any breakdown of law and order as the peace protest lasted.
When asked while causing pains to road users by blocking the major highway in the city, the organisers of the rally said they did that to get the attention of those in authorities adding that the current poor infrastructure in public schools, high school fees and government insensitivity to the plight of teachers at all levels in the education sector could not longer be tolerated.
The protest is coming on the heels of the indefinite strike embarked upon by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, nationwide, to protest poor funding of education by the government.
The peaceful protest which started at the secretariat annex of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Yaba, was led by Comrade Abiodun Aremu of the Joint Action Front, JAF, a coalition of students and civil right groups. Other leaders of the group who participated in the march include radical lawyer, Bamidele Aturu and Comrade Chibuzor Asomugha, who represented the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP.
Comrade Abiodun who spoke during the rally described the protest as the beginning of series of protests lined up to make government at all levels have a change of attitude towards education.
He enjoined on parents, traders, artisans and others to join the protest and force government to do something about the poor sate of education in the country.
'This is just the beginning of a number of protests that we have lined up in the coming days. We are going to be peaceful in all the protests. As you can see today, there are no street urchins or 'area boys.' The aim is to draw government attention to the numerous problems bedeviling education in the country. We need the support of everybody. If we don't do this, nobody is going to do it for us,' he stressed.
Comrade Asomugha, on his part, stressed the need for the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and other relevant groups to take the bull by the horn and champion the cause of the downtrodden in the country.
'Education is not only for the rich, Nigerians should wake up and reclaim what belongs to them. We, members of ASUP, have resolved to join the protest to salvage the education sector. We want to identify with the spirit of peaceful protest, which is a veritable tool to fight a just cause,' he said.