- by E. Nriezedi
- 1:06 PM May 18, 2022
Students of the University of Benin on Wednesday blocked the busy Benin/Lagos highway in solidarity with the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities who began a one-month strike on Monday.
The students in their hundreds were seen at the Ugbowo campus entrance chanting solidarity songs holding placards with inscriptions like ‘Education is our right’ ‘5 years course has turned to 7 years’, ‘FG settle ASUU’ and ‘Enough is Enough.’
The students described the protest as a warning to the federal government and called on the authorities to meet the demands of the lecturers in order to make learning more convenient for them.
Some students turned the highway into a football field, while the students’ leaders were giving out refreshment to their colleagues.
The protest caused a gridlock on the highway for hours, forcing many motorists to avoid the route, while those going into the state capital had to divert to other roads.
The President, Students Union Government, Foster Amadin, said the students would continue the protest in support of the lecturers.
Amadin said, “This is a warning protest. We are airing our grievances and to let the government know that we are watching their action.
“If proper measures are not taken to check this strike, the effect will not be nice. We are ready to stay here except the federal government listens to our lecturers.
“We came to the street to say we are tired. We, hereby, express our grievances to the federal government, the state government and whoever cares to listen. We say we are tired.
“We want to graduate. For a programme that is supposed to run for four years, we are spending five years and even more. We don’t want it anymore.”
Corroborating Amadin, the Speaker of the SUG, UNIBEN, Dignity Amenaghawon said, “The essence of the protest is because of the ASUU strike. We are in the streets calling on the federal government to heed to the demands of ASUU and put an end to these strikes.
“This is not the first time ASUU is going on strike. This issue has been on ground since 2009, they had an agreement since and the federal government is yet to fulfil it.
“The students are at the receiving end of this industrial disputes. The government should meet ASUU’s demands. We are in solidarity with ASUU.”