Angry Students Protest Over Lingering ASUU Strike, Block Owerri Highway
Chika Amunobi, Enugu
The ever-busy Assumpta Cathedral road in Owerri Imo State was on Friday barricaded as students of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and Imo State University, IMSU Owerri led other students in protest against the ongoing impasse between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The protest commenced around 11: 00 am with students blocking the highway around Imo International Conference Centre, IICC, creating a gridlock within and outward Owerri.
The action of the students left many motorists and travellers stranded.
The students carried placards with inscriptions such as “We must graduate, “#End ASUU strike now#, “FG Save our education and save our lives, “We say no to educational stagnancy, “We are tired of deadlocked meetings, and “Education should not be this difficult, among others.
Speaking at the protest ground, Chairman of the Federal University Technology Owerri (FUTO) branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Comrade Nwokeji Uchenna appealed to the federal government to respond urgently to the yearnings of ASUU.
Nwokeji who appealed to the students to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner said ASUU has been clamouring since the commencement of the strike that something be done with immediate effect but that the federal government have refused to listen.
“We are pleading with the FG, the Governors and other stakeholders to please do the needful. Nigeria doesn’t need this. The FG should as a matter of urgency call off the strike, and pay allowances owed to ASUU since 2012. Nigeria as a country has enough money to solve the problem.
“Everyday EFCC goes about arresting youths because they don’t want them to go into fraud but when you frustrate them out of school, you don’t blame them for their actions.”
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Comrade Ejike Praisegod, a student of FUTO and the Deputy Coordinator, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southeast said if nothing is being done, Nigeria students will be at home for the next six months.
”This strike is causing a lot of harm for Nigerian students. We can no longer bear the brunt of the feud between ASUU and the Federal Government.
”FG has to understand the fact that Nigerian students will always be at the receiving end. Our students are suffering. Our students are fed up. This whole issue is getting out of hand.
”We call for a well-established resolution for the benefit of the students.”