Despite the assurances of Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso would be reopened before the end of this month, the institution’s aggrieved students yesterday took to the streets of Ibadan to protest its prolonged closure.
The protesters first marched around the state capital to lament their plight, and then gathered at the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mokola, Ibadan where they called for the immediate and unconditional reopening of the school.
Ajimobi had made the pledge last weekend to reopen the university, co-owned with Osun State but which was shut over seven months ago for alleged arrears and other sundry issues.
In his statement to reporters, the secretary of the Save Education and Reopen LAUTECH Coalition (SERAL-C), of the umbrella body of the students’ movements and organizations on the campus, Monsurudeen Omoakin, demanded the immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of their lecturers without the rumoured increase in school fees.
He said the owner states ought to have resolved all the lingering issues since the institution was shut on the 13th of June last year. The 400-Level Applied Physics undergraduate regretted that the 26-year old institution, which was once the best state university in the country, can no longer boast of a single hostel accommodation, modern and adequate learning facilities or laboratory. According to Omoakin
“Initially, most students and the general public were made to believe that the closure was due to students’ agitation against unprincipled interference of the management during the conduct of the students’ union election held few weeks earlier. This was the kind of erroneous belief most students were made to grapple with for months until we began to understand that the closure was a direct consequence of the inability of the two state governments to pay the salaries and allowances of workers in the school,”
On the reported meeting of some student leaders with the governor, the protesters dissociated themselves from the parley, saying any meeting with anybody from which they are excluded lacked legitimacy.