Yesterday’s national day celebration in Ibadan, Oyo State, was marred by protests by members of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-West zone. For more than three hours, the protesters numbering about 1,000 also paralysed commercial activities in the state capital.
According to the students, the action was triggered by what they described as government’s underfunding of the education sector, including the ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The protest which started around 9.00am saw the students marched through Agbowo, Mokola Round-about, Total Garden, Agodi-Gate before the procession terminated at the Iwo-Road inter-change. At each point, the students barricaded major roads, thereby disrupting the flow of traffic. As they marched along the streets, the protesters sang anti-government songs. They accused the Federal Government of insensitivity and demanded proper funding of the education system.
Meanwhile, the protest was observed by policemen from state command who drove in Hilux vans, to ensure that the demonstration was not hijacked by hoodlums.
Leading the protest was NANS, South-West coordinator, Monsuru Adeyemo, who, in a communiqué read by him, said there is the urgent need to rescue the country’s education sector from total collapse, from the claws of the ruling elite.
He said:” As a result of poor government funding, in spite of stupendous wealth of the country, public education, from the primary to tertiary level is bedeviled by lack of adequate facilities for proper teaching, learning and research. Hostel facilities in the few schools where they still exist, are dilapidated and insufficient. This is why over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria,” the communiqué read.
“Only this year, about 1.7 million candidates sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and from the available space in the public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country, less than 29 per cent of the candidates will be admitted, thus leaving out over 1.2 million candidates.
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