A female student collapsed and a policeman was injured on Monday as students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta took to the streets to protest the inability of the institution to conduct the second semester examination, previously scheduled to begin on September 18, 2017.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, MAPOLY chapter, had indefinitely postponed the examination due to a face-off between the lecturers and the Ogun State Government over the latter’s decision to upgrade the polytechnic to university status.
The protesting students, dressed in black T-shirts and chanting slogans, marched from Pansheke, through Oke Ilewo-Kuto-NNPC junction, to Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s office at Oke Mosan.
Some of the students carried placards with messages, such as “Bring back our exam,” and MAPOLY must survive” among others. They claimed they had been at home for three months without government doing anything about their plight.
While the Higher National Diploma students, who were in their final semester before the examination was postponed, wished they had joined their colleagues in other institutions for the mandatory one-year national youth service, others claimed their rent had expired and under the circumstance, they had no other choice than to pay for another year.
The students, however, met a detachment of policemen around the NNPC junction, and there was a skirmish.
Eye witness accounts claimed that the policemen had fired teargas canisters at the students to disperse them and a female student, believed to be suffering from asthma, collapsed. She was said to have been rushed to the state General Hospital, Ijaiye, for treatment.
The students later marched to the governor’s office at Oke Mosan and demanded to see the governor. But Amosun was unavailable.
Although the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, made efforts to address the students, they insisted that they wanted to see the governor.
The students grew impatient at a point and started hurling stones at the policemen, injuring one of them on the head.
The protest was organised by a coalition, comprising the National Association of Nigerian Students, the National Association of Polytechnic Students and the National Association of the Ogun State Students.
The Chairman, NANS, Ogun State chapter, Olawale Balogun, said that members of the coalition had vowed to continue the protest as long as the state government delayed to intervene in the matter.
He said, “We will not stop this protest until the government heeds our call. We are appealing to the two parties to resolve their differences. This protest will continue tomorrow, by the grace of God.”