The federal government has said students who blocked a busy section of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to protest the lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that has lasted for more than six months were ”violating” the law.
The minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola said this while briefing State House correspondents shortly after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to Fashola, the Nigerian constitution, even though recognises and protects the citizens’ right to public protests does not empower any Nigerian to “inflict pain and inconvenience on other people.”
Recall that Students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) took to streets on Tuesday, in protest of the strike and blocked the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Shagamu Interchange.
Students were seen raising placards and chanting solidarity songs as they lamented the now seven-month old strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
But fielding a question on the recurrent gridlock on the uncompleted sections of the highway, Fashola appealed for more patience from Nigerians saying that there was no alternative route in the already built-up areas.
He said, “I also heard that some aggrieved students under the aegis of NANS are going to the road to protest. My respectful view is that it is not helpful at all to the citizens.
“The right to protest is a very well-protected right in our Constitution, but it does not include the right to inflict pain and inconvenience on other people. And so, whilst the protests can go on, they should refrain from blocking the road in order to do their protests. That in itself is a violation of law.”