Social and commercial activities in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, were grounded to a halt on Monday, when students of the four tertiary institutions owned by the state government barricaded major roads to protest against the continuous closure of their institutions as a result of indefinite strike embarked upon by their lecturers.
Numbering over 200, the students converged on Olaiya junction as early as 8.00am and marched to Gbongan Road, chanting anti-government songs, denouncing what they termed insensitivity of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration to the demands of the striking lecturers.
While the protest lasted, traffic gridlock forced private and commercial vehicles to park for hours, just as commercial activities were disrupted in most parts of the town, leading to the closure of shops and business centres.
The demonstrating students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students’ Joint Campus Committee (NANS/JCC), Osun State chapter, appealed to the state government to accede to the requests of their striking lecturers in the interest of the future of the state.
But, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Ibrahim Maishanu, who led police officers to the scene of the protest, implored the students to embrace peaceful dialogue in addressing their plights, adding that they should desist from acts capable of breaching the peace and security in the state.
Reacting over the development, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Sunday Akere ,said the state government had been magnanimous to the demands of the academic staff and the students with the increase in the annual bursary award.
He, however, assured that the state government would continue to explore dialogue with the academic staff of the four tertiary institutions, with a view to ensuring that they return to classrooms.
It would be recalled that the academic staff of the four tertiary institutions owned by the state government had since last month embarked on an indefinite strike over 65 years retirement age, non remmittance of pension deductions, among others.
The affected institutions include Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, College of Technology, Esa-Oke and the Colleges of Education in Ila-Orangun and