Protests as LASU students decry prolonged closure
Students of Lagos State University (LASU), yesterday, marched to the Alausa office of the state governor, Babatunde Fashola, protesting the continued closure of the Ojo main campus of the institution.
The protesters, who stormed the office at about 1pm, demanded the immediate re-opening of the school.
Bearing placards that expressed their minds, they appealed to the Governor to address the lingering labour issues and stop using election-recess as excuse for the closure.
On their placards were inscriptions like: “Re-open LASU now; after election, wetin remain?” “Re-open LASU, Fashola, before you go.” “LASU students are ready to resume.” “We want to graduate o,” among others.
It would be recalled that the Ojo main campus of the state-owned institution was closed on March 16, 2015 prior to the general elections.
While the state government cited elections for the closure, there was also a brewing labour crisis that had threatened peace in the institution. The crisis, being a face-off between the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the school management, also partly accounted for the indefinite postponement of the 20th convocation earlier scheduled for March 18 and 19.
Complaining that the general elections had been concluded in the last three weeks, the aggrieved students said it was no longer acceptable that the institution should remain shut.
Last Tuesday, the Student Union body issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the management to have the school re-opened.
President of the Student Union Government, Wasiu Adeyemi, during the protest yesterday, said the students had accepted reason for the closure because they thought it was only reasonable to forestall election-related violence.
According to him, immediately the government announced election recess, I had written a letter rejecting the “election recess,” which didn’t stipulate when we are to resume. That is exactly what is happening now. When the elections were over, we expect that they would allow the students to come back to school since there was no crisis during the election period.
“If the government or management gives us other reasons, we will reason with them, but to remain mute is unacceptable. We want to learn and we must go back to school,” Adeyemi insisted.
The students, in a position paper submitted to the governor, appealed to Fashola to wade into the NASU/management face off.
The workers had been on warpath with the Prof. John Obafunwa-led management over welfare issues. The issues bother on salary arrears, alleged high-handedness, disregard and victimisation of union’s executive members.