Students of The Polytechnic, Ibadan on Tuesday staged a protest against the continued strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP).
The students in their hundreds, took to the streets of Ibadan to protest the continued closure of their school to academic activities as a result of the strike action embarked upon by the institution’s chapter of the union.
The protest which started at about 7 am saw students marched from the campus, through Sango-UI road and terminated at Mokola-roundabout area of the city, where they grounded traffic activities, disrupting traffic flow from Secretariat road, Sabo road, Dugbe road as well as UI-Sango road.
The students displayed placards with inscriptions “Call off the Strike! Save our future”, “We are tired of staying at home”, “Light no dey, Water no dey”, “We are not anti-Ajimobi”, “We are tired of staying at home” and “Ki Polybadan le da, Ajumose gbogbo wa ni” (the betterment of Poly Ibadan is our collective responsibility).
Fully armed mobile policemen numbering about 10, were also on ground to ensure that the protest was orderly.
Speaking at the protest ground, the students union president, Iyiola Oladimeji said that it had come to a point when the students had to speak up in the face of seeming neglect of the students plight by the government and ASUP.
“We can’t continue to tolerate this continuous neglect. They have to resolve whatever is between them and call off this strike. We are tired of staying at home and wasting away. For Students are just idling away,” he said.
The students also said that they have given all concerned parties in the on-going industrial action 24 hours to suspend the strike, failure of which the protest would be taken to the state Secretariat
However, the state government, anticipating that the students may also visit the secretariat during the protest, locked the secretariat gates and stationed armed security personnel at the entrance.
The chairman of the polytechnic’s chapter of ASUP, Segun Philip, said it was the government that had not done what it was supposed to do. “All our demands have been presented to them and none has been attended to. We have tried all other means to get their attention but they have not worked.
So we resolved to embark on that strike since December 2013. There are so many and they have not touched any,” he said. He lamented that due to the government’s lacklustre attitude to funding, it had been difficult conducting academic activities as they should be done.
“The departments can not function with that level of funding. The school fees students are paying are not enough to run the school efficiently and the government is aware.
“Since November 2011, the management of the school have all been in acting capacity. Acting Rector, acting everybody! The school can not function at optimum level. with that kind of arrangement. Part of our demands is that they deal with that issue too,” he added.
The union boss also said that the governments failure to appoint substantive management for the school was doing more harm than good.
The state Commissioner for Education, Professor Solomon Olaniyonu, blamed the lecturers for the crisis, accusing them of not doing what they were supposed to be doing.
“They are not supposed to be on strike. They are not doing what they are supposed to be doing,” he said, adding that the government was already looking into the lecturers’ demands and have assured them that they would be attended to.
After the protest, the students hijacked five Ajumose mass transit buses and three police vehicles to convey them back to the Sango campus.