22nd September, 2010
Yesterday, hundreds of students of the Lagos Stte University (LASU), protested at the governorâ€™s office in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.
Several efforts to calm the nerves of agitating students, who barricaded the entire area including the state House of Assembly with the vehicles that conveyed them to Alausa that afternoon proved futile as they warned the security operatives within the vicinity not to carry out any action that would further provoke them.
The students maintained that the government had not done anything to address the problems facing them in their various campuses.
The students carried placards with several inscriptions like â€˜Fashola, Remember We Voted For You,â€™ â€˜We Are Tired of Staying At Home, Please Save Our Souls,â€™ What Have We Done Wrong As Students of A State-Owned University? Ask Fashola.â€™ They said they were fighting on behalf of the entire students and their lecturers who would be embarking on an indefinite strike on 30 September, 2010.
They also complained that they have been forced to come out and tell the people the unbearable conditions under which they have continued to attend classes.
While some of them told P.M.NEWS that they are forced by the lukewarm attitude of the state government to continue using obsolete materials in the school, others said they do not have enough classrooms as thousands of them always stand during lectures because the institution does not have enough seats for them despite the fact that they pay their school fees promptly.
Osineye Adebowale, former SUG President of the school, who led the students told P.M.NEWS that â€œwe are trying to tell the Lagos State Governor to implement the agreement reached on salary between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities.
â€œWe observed that some states have begun the implementation. Nassarawa and Edo have done that.
â€œWhen the negotiation was been made, he was there. Come 30, this month all lecturers of the state institutions would be embarking on strike and the consequence is that the students would be idle and engage in social vices including thuggery while the female students would be forced into prostitution. We believe in intellectual struggle and we are here to demonstrate our concern.â€
He said the various unions had sent messages to the governor which the latter had rebuffed.
Adebowale also said the claim by the government that education is the cornerstone of the current administration was fallacious and hasty because the 26 per cent of the annual budget declared by UNESCO as the average for education is yet to be met.
â€œGo to our school and you would discover 1, 000 students standing while 500 are seating receiving lectures,â€ he said.
Another student who gave his name as Goriola Grillo said; â€œit is actually obvious to the blind and audible to the deaf that the Lagos State and Federal governments have been toying with our future. The fact that education is not seen as a right in Nigeria does not mean we should not get better education.
â€œYou will also agree with me that for a long time now, we have been having problems with our education. Their children are schooling abroad while we are here suffering. Come to LASU and see the learning condition.
â€œWe are only hopeful that the government canÂ do something about the yearnings of the students. The state government is promoting a mega city but have you asked them if they can have a mega city without a mega institution producing mega students?â€
A Geology student, who did not want his name mentioned lamented that he had spent seven years in the institution just because of challenges not related to his failure in the examination.
He said: â€œThey should stop treating us as if we do not belong to this country. Most of us have spent beyond the actual number of years we were supposed to spend not because we failed, but because of governmentâ€™s insensitivity to our plight.
â€œI have spent seven years in the school instead of the normal four years. I have not failed in my examinations before so why should I remain a perpetual student?â€
Addressing the students, the state Chief of Staff, AdesegunÂ Ogunlewe, said the state government was meeting with the union members in an effort to fashion out ways to solve the salary problems.