Students of the University of Abuja on Monday staged a protest against the prolonged nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The protesting students called for an end to the strike, saying that it had paralyzed academic activities in the nation’s universities and was gradually mortgaging their future.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protesting students, who carried placards, first converged on the SDP Junction in Gwagwalada before moving towards the Airport Road.
They urged ASUU and the Federal Government to amicably address the issues that constitute the “bone of contention” in the overall interest of the students and the nation at large.
One of the student union leaders, Mr. Toyonkiki Sunday, said the protest was to draw the attention of ASUU and the Federal Government to the pitiable plight of the students.
Sunday said students were fed up with staying at home indefinitely and implored the two parties to explore all avenues to resolve the dispute amicably and immediately.
“Our only reason for staging this protest is to draw the attention of ASUU and the government to our plight; we are tired of staying at home,” he said.
Another student, Peter Egbe, a 300-level English Language student said that ASUU and the FG “should, by whatever means, resolve their differences as soon as possible to enable us return to class.”
NAN reports that all efforts to get the views of the university Public Relations Officer on the students’ protest proved abortive.
Also, civil society groups under the auspices of Joint Action Front and the Academic Staff Union of Universities will on Thursday converge on Abeokuta, Ogun State to protest against the failure of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the striking university teachers.
Teachers in the nation’s public universities commenced industrial action last July 1 to demand the implementation of the 2009 agreement they signed with Federal Government.
Addressing journalists in Abeokuta on Monday, the JAF Secretary, Abiodun Aremu, said the planned protest was to show their dissatisfaction with the manner the three tiers of government were funding public education in the country.
According to him, the demands of ASUU and other unions in the nation’s tertiary institutions are to improve the education sector.
He added that the disruption of the academic calendar as well as falling standard of education at all levels were pointers to a bleak future for the current generation of Nigerians.
He said, “The government should be blamed for all the crises in the education sector, including the incessant strikes. The unions in the sector are not making fresh demands.
They are on strike because federal and state governments failed to implement agreements they freely entered into and signed with the unions.”
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