Osogbo, the Osun State capital, was held to a standstill for one hour on Monday as students of the four state-owned tertiary institutions in the state blocked the popular Orita-Olaiya roundabout with a luxury bus and six mini-buses.
The students, who thronged major streets in the state capital, were protesting the expulsion of five of their colleagues from the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa, the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (NASUP).
According tothe Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Osun Axis, Comrade Seun Abosede, who led the protest, the expelled students were: Oluwaseun Oyelami, Abdulkabir Afolabi, Nurudeen Oladejo, Oluwaseyi Olagunju and Samuel Awowole.
Abosede claimed that the affected students were expelled for agitating for a conducive academic learning environment for the students and reduction in their tuition fees.
The protest temporarily paralysed commercial activities in the state capital, as free-flow of traffic was temporarily disrupted.
Officers of the State Security Service including the State Security Service, Nigerian Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, guarded the students to avoid break down of law and order.
Addressing pressmen at the Ola-Iya junction, Abosede said the students resorted to protest, following the failure of the management of the OSCEI to reinstate the expelled students.
He added that dialogue and negotiation with the OSCEI authority were unfruitful, as the institution authorities were not ready to reverse the expulsion.
The NANS chairman also maintained that the minimum wage crisis between the state government and workers of the tertiary institutions had been affecting their academic activities, saying that the indefinite strike action embarked upon by workers would definitely prolong their stay in school.
Abosede, however, called on the state government, ASUP and NASUP to shift grounds for each other and ensure restoration of academic activities on the state-owned institutions’ campuses.
He gave the state government and the workers of the tertiary institutions, 10 days ultimatum forthe return of academic activities on campuses, saying that failure to do that would lead to unprecedented protest by the students’ body in the state.