Motorists and commuters were stranded along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Tuesday when some students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, South-West zone, protested against the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities strike and the fuel scarcity in the country.
The protesters, who blocked both sides of the expressway around the Car Park C, Mowe, Ogun State, carried placards with various inscriptions and sang solidarity songs.
The protest grounded traffic with many travellers trapped in the gridlock.
The NANS Chairman in Ogun State, Kehinde Simeon, who spoke on behalf of the students, said the association was giving the Federal Government seven working days to address the ASUU strike and the fuel scarcity.
Simeon threatened that if the government failed to address the issues before the expiration of the ultimatum, students would block all major roads in the South-West.
Speaking with one of our correspondents, the student leader noted that the association believed that the fuel scarcity was created by the Federal Government to hike the price of fuel.
He said, “One of the issues is the ongoing fuel scarcity which we perceive to be a kind of artificial scarcity which the Federal Government is trying to use to depict people’s opinion and look for a way to further hike the fuel price.
“We believe that they are using this to test run and if we keep silent in the face of such oppression and we do not speak out in the interest of teeming Nigerian students because we are the ones at the receiving end, and the masses by extension, it is going to be an aberration.
“The second reason is the incessant ASUU strike. We see that the Federal Government has decided not to do the needful. A senator would be going home with an average of N100m monthly and people in the teaching line who helped these people in actualising their dreams could not even boast of N200,000 monthly and they expect us to sit down, cross our legs and watch all this?
“They should listen to the lecturers, do the needful, go back to the negotiation table and come back with something meaningful.”
Speaking on why the protest was brought to the expressway, Simeon said it was to send a signal to the Federal Government since the road is a federal road.
Reading a statement jointly signed by the association’s South-West chairmen at the protest ground, Simeon said, “Unfortunately, at the height of these crises, the President, in his usual manner of leaving the country at the needed time, jetted out to London for medical check-up; another exposure of the unreasonable, lackadaisical and shameful personality of the Nigerian ruling class.
“We will only be charging the Nigerian people, most particularly the working class under the Nigerian Labour Congress. to come to their historical role in ensuring this nonsense is stopped.”