Police Beef Up Security Ahead Of NLC Solidarity Rally As Parents, CSOs, Students Set For Showdown

Police Beef Up Security Ahead Of NLC Solidarity Rally As Parents, CSOs, Students Set For Showdown

Scores of primary school pupils in Osun State on Monday staged a peaceful protest in solidarity with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to accede to the demands of the union in order to end the lingering strike.

The pupils who wore their school uniform and coordinated by their teachers, stormed the main gate of the Obafemi Awolowo University campus in Ile-Ife, and declared support for ASUU chanting the solidarity song, “We see ASUU fighting for us.”

Recall that ASUU has embarked on strike since February 14, 2022 over the failure of the Federal Government to fund universities. And in keeping with the slogan that an injury to one is an injury to all, other unions in the universities including NASU, NAAT, and SSANU had also declared strike for the same length of time…CONTINUE READING

The protesting pupils of Sunshine Nursery and Primary School, Ile-Ife, carried different placards bearing inscriptions such as, ”Don’t Borrow Our Future Away”, ”I Am The Future ASUU, Make No Mistake About It”, ”I Am The Future ASUU, Don’t Forget,” “Stand Up ASUU, Stand Up For Us. We See ASUU Fighting For Us, “Govts Should Save Our Future by Funding Our Universities,” “When You Stand Up For ASUU, Then You Are Standing For Us,” among others.

Their demonstration came few hours to the proposed two-day nationwide protest by Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in solidarity with striking university workers.

The pupils blamed the federal government for the lingering industrial action and called on President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to find a lasting solution to the grievances of the lecturers.

Passersby and members of the university community were astonished on sighting the protesting pupils who expressed fear that the lingering strike may affect their future.

Their demonstration also caught the attention of road users as the situation caused traffic gridlock at the institution gate for minutes.

The protesting pupils demanded improved welfare for university lecturers in the country, urging the federal government to do all within its reach to protect their future

Addressing journalists, one of the pupils, Anjola Adeyemo expressed fear that if universities could be shut down for such a long period, it may be the turn of primary and secondary schools soon.

The pupil said, “We want our government to answer ASUU. It’s not good that universities are not working again. It’s not good for our future. We want our brothers and sisters to go back to their schools.”

Other pupils who spoke urged government not to jeopardise the effort of the founding fathers of Nigeria particularly in the area of education adding that the continuous idleness of affected undergraduates was dangerous.

Also speaking, an educationalist with over two decades of teaching in primary school, Iyabo Ayanku, expressed worry over the continuous closure of universities.

Recall that the Federal Government had set up the Prof. Nimi Briggs-led committee to renegotiate the 2009 agreement endorsed by the union and the FG but nothing fruitful had come out of it.

Meanwhile, the Police have beefed up security in Osogbo and other major towns in Osun State ahead of today’s NLC solidarity protest.

Checks by our correspondent Monday revealed that the police command had deployed police teams to strategic locations in the capital city and other towns.

Different teams of policemen who were armed were sighted with their patrol vehicles at Old Garage, Ola-Iya, and Oke-Fia areas of Osogbo. These locations have been the traditional convergence points for most protest in the state.

Some parents and members of the Civil Society groups in the state, students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife among other concerned individuals have expressed readiness to join the protest on Tuesday.

They declared their interests while speaking with our correspondent in Osogbo. Some other individuals had through statements and varying posts on their social media handles resolved to join NLC in the solidarity rally.

A parent, Mrs Adepeju Oyindayo accused the Federal Government of being insensitive to the plights of the striking lecturers, students and the improvement of university education on the country.

She appealed to President Buhari to accede to the requests of ASUU and other sister unions without further delay.

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