Youths from different parts of the country converged on the University of Lagos, Akoka, yesterday to protest against the continued strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike over seven weeks ago, due to the failure of the Federal government to implement an agreement reached by both parties in 2009.
The students, who gathered under the aegis of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, came from Abuja, Plateau, Kogi, Benin, Lagos states among others.
They were however denied access into the campus as the gates were locked by security operatives.
Over 30 riot policemen were stationed at the entrance of the university campus to keep the protest under control.
Some leaders of the group however pleaded with the security men to be allowed into the campus, but their request was turned down.
Addressing the protesters, the President of the NYCN, Abdullahi Abdulmajeed, said ;
ASUU did not have any justification to continue with the strike. He also faulted the resort to perennial industrial actions, which he said had affected the lives of many Nigerian youths.
Abdulmajeed said, “I am sad because it has been over 100 days since over 30 million Nigerian students have been sent out of schools. We don’t have problems with the request of ASUU, which are all legitimate and in the interest of our education. But, we have problem with the fact that it has adopted an approach that is not dynamic.
“Because of this constant strike, armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution have been on the rise; an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. Many of our youths are no longer employable because of the age limit many blue chip companies are setting for their employees.”
The Plateau president of the group, Yakubu Shendam, said;
the strike had been politicised. Shendam added that the Federal Government had made enough concession and pleaded with ASUU to have a rethink.
He said, “The ASUU strike has a political undertone. When former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power, the union went on strike for over six months, and nothing happened to Nigeria. Politics is at work here. Of the N50bn demanded as earned allowance, FG has said it would give N30bn. Is that not a pass mark?”
The Public Relations Officer of NYCN, Chris Ibe, said ;the group would set up a committee, made up of prominent Nigerians, to help mediate in the strike.
A student of the University of Lagos, Martins Abiodun, appealed to ASUU and the FG to resolve their differences on time.
He said “We know the two parties are looking for something; Nigerian students are not fighting against ASUU. We know the struggle is to bring about a change. But the two parties should find a lasting solution to this problem because we are the ones suffering the impact of their clash.”