Polytechnic students in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, on Thursday, staged a peaceful protest, and gave the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to resolve all issues with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) or face the wrath of Nigerian students.
The students blocked some major streets in protest of the lingering strike embarked upon by ASUP, demanding the immediate resignation of the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyemson Wike, for failing to resolve all contending issues with the lecturers and also vowed not to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election in 2015.
The protest forced motorists and pedestrians stranded at the ever busy Muhammadu Buhari Way in the state capital.
As early as 10:00am local time motorists and pedestrians had a hectic time, as the only road leading to the Muhammadu Buhari Way was barricaded by the students.
Marching slowly with placards of various inscriptions and chanting anti-government songs, the students moved down to the secretariat of the Kaduna State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) located along the same road where they addressed journalists.
There, they lamented that the Federal Government was being insensitive to their plight while at the same time wasting public funds on meaningless ventures that had no positive impact to national development.
The strike which started on October 4, 2013 has brought uncertainty to their future and is capable of worsening the current security challenges.
As the strike lingers, the students say they may have no other choice than to storm Abuja, the nation’s capital and disrupt the ongoing National Conference if the Federal Government does not implement all agreements it reached with the polytechnic lecturers since 2009.
A student Leader, Salaudeen Lukman, demanded for the review of discrimination policy between polytechnic and university graduates, immediate source of 20 billion Naira required by ASUP and immediate conversion of the National Board for Technical Education to National Polytechnic Commission.
“It is very saddening that we have continued to be at home. The longer we stay at home the more we are exposed to risk,” Lukman said.
The students noted that the protest was a warning to the Federal Government for unleashing hardship on them and cautioned that if ASUP and the Federal Government failed to reach a compromise that could lead to the reopening of the Polytechnics, they would have no other alternative than to embark on a nation-wide protest.
With their academic future being threatened by the over seven months old strike, the plight of the students is simple, that the Federal Government immediately reach a compromise with ASUP and to stop playing politics with education, especially technological and vocational education, which are the bedrock of a nation’s development.
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