On Tuesday a large number of polytechnic students took over Ikorordu Road in a renewed protest against the ongoing strike of their lecturers in Lagos.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics had embarked on strike since May to demand better condition of service.
This protest forced commuters and motorists to ply the service lanes, which resulted in confusion.
A fight almost broke out between the students and a BRT driver when the latter protested the students’ action. Policemen from the Onipanu Division, who monitored the protest, however, prevented a violent confrontation.
Car owners and commuters, who spoke with Punch Metro, said the protest had created hardship for them.
A motorist, Mr. Lekan Aboaba, said the students should have thought of a better way of expressing their grievances instead of taking over the road.
He said, “This traffic jam has been horrible and unbelievable. I am sure there are better ways of expressing grievances than blocking a major road. This is just wrong.”
Also, a teacher, Mr. Adebayo Bello, said the students got it wrong and should have taken their complaint to the state or the National Assembly.
“It is rather unfortunate that this traffic hold up is a result of students’ protest. If they want to protest against the strike, they should have done that on the premises of their schools or go to the state Assembly or National Assembly instead of causing untold hardship to innocent citizens,” he said.
Tairu Olaniran, a motor parts dealer, who was in a commercial bus while the gridlock lasted, said his business had been affected.
He however appealed to the government to listen to the students by making sure that their lecturers return to the classrooms.
“It is wrong that the issues of money would create problems like this because teachers deserve to be well paid for the great job they are doing,” he said.
The students protest train halted at the Ojota bus stop, where some of the students criticised the government’s policy on education at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park.
The Speaker of the Yaba College of Technology Students Legislative Council, Titilayo Arikawe, who spoke with Punch Metro, said the President Goodluck Jonathan administration had been insensitive and partial in dealing with the problems in the educational sector.
She said, “We (Polytechnics) have been on strike for three months, while Academic Staff Union of Universities began their strike about two weeks ago. They have started talking on resolving their crisis at the National Assembly, neglecting the polytechnic students. Are polytechnic students not students?
Another student, who simply identified himself as Smoochy, said he had only two months to conclude his academic programme when the strike started: “I had only two months left when this strike started. Why are they doing this? They say we are the future of this country, so where are they taking us to?”