Students tell Ajimobi, Aregbesola: We want LAUTECH resumption now

Hundreds of students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (Ogbomoso), took to the streets of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital on Monday to protest the continuous closure of the 26-year old institution.

The students prior to the protest had gathered at the Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mokola to address journalists where they also called for the immediate and unconditional reopening of the institution.

Our correspondent recalled that Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state had in a release made available to journalists on Friday by his Media Aide, Mr. Yomi Layinka assured the students and staff of the institution of reopening the school before the end of this month.

But, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, the Secretary of the umbrella body of the students movements and organisations in the campus, The Save Education and Reopen LAUTCH Coalition (SERAL-C), Comrade Monsurudeen Omoakin, a 400 level Applied Physics student, demanded the immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of their lecturers without any increment in their school fees as being rumoured.

He said it was enough for the two states since 13 June 2016 when the institution was shut to call all the stakeholders to a round table and settle the lingering crises.

Omoakin who declared that the SERAL-C is a conglomerate of many campus pro-students movements such as Liberal Movement, National Liberty Vanguard, Democratic Socialist Movement, Education Rights Campaign among others maintained that the continued closure of the institution centred over the inability of the two states (Oyo and Osun) to pay the salaries and allowances of their lecturers was unacceptable.

He said the 26-year old institution which was once best state university in the country cannot boast of a single hostel accommodation, modern and adequate learning facilities or laboratory.

“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 under which most students were made to groan 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.”

The students then demanded the ” Immediate and unconditional re-opening of LAUTECH, Immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of striking workers; no to fee hike, improved funding and democratic management of LAUTECH now and the immediate restoration of LAUTECH Students’ union.”

Speaking on the purported meeting of some students leaders with the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, another student, Comrade Israel Fawole said the movement, “SERAH-C dissociates itself from this meeting and hold that such a meeting with NANS leadership which has never had any prior and democratic discussion with the rank and file of students of LAUTCH lacks any legitimacy and its outcome is not binding on LAUTCH students.”

Our correspondent is still awaiting a release from the spokespersons of the two governors, Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) to speak on their plans to ensure that the crises rocking the institution becomes a thing of the past.

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