Valentine’s Day protest at LASPOTECH
Students of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) gave the institution’s management a shocker on Valentine’s Day. They marched on their Rector’s office in Ikorodu to protest what they termed the authority’s insensitivity to their welfare.
The demonstration, which started at 8:45am from the polytechnic’s second gate, was led by the president of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Olanrewaju Balogun. The protesters also besieged the library, chanting solidarity songs with placards.
As the students moved towards the Rector’s office, a top official of the institution pleaded with them to halt the demonstration. The official, whose identity could not be ascertained asked the students to return to their hostels, promising that their grievances would be addressed.
The students declined to stop the protest, insisting on an audience with the Rector.
On getting to the Rector’s office, the Deputy Rector, Olasunkanmi Longe, addressed them, saying the Rector, Dr Abdulazeez Abioye, was not around. Not convinced, the protesters continued the solidarity songs, demanding to see the Rector in person.
After a few minutes, Olanrewaju addressed the protesters, saying the union leaders had confirmed that Abioye was not on campus. He said students would still make their grievances known to the management in the absence of the Rector.
Stating their challenges, the Speaker of the union, Kehinde Olofintuyi, said students could no longer afford “double payment of Entrepreneurship Educational Development (EED) fee”. Other complaints include deduction in number of students being mobilised for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), poor operation delivery at the school’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centre, poor transportation scheme, insecurity on campus and incapacitation of the students’ union among others.
Longe said he would relay the students’ grievances to the management, promising that“quick intervention” would be made. He said management was not to blame for the decrease in NYSC mobilisation, saying the reduction was informed by NYSC’s new regulation, which stipulated that only graduates that have the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) registration number could be mobilised for Service.
Longe said there would be “regularisation” for students, who did part-time programmes for National Diploma (ND) but admitted on full-time for Higher National Diploma (HND). He said the process needed to be carried out to generate JAMB registration numbers for the affected students before they were mobilised for service.
He promised that management would address poor operation of the ICT centre, adding that the facility would be strengthened to service the students better. The crowd was thrown into frenzy when Longe did not address EED fee. Students interrupted the Deputy Rector, preventing him from making further comment except he agreed to speak on the controversial fee.
Longe, who managed to calm the crowd, said he did not have power to speak on EED, pleading with the students to wait for the Rector’s comment on it.
He stated that the management did not have any reason to undermine the union, saying the school was only helping the union to collect its dues from students. But Longe promised that the issue would be looked into.
The SUG president reiterated that the union was out to advance the welfare of students. He said another round of protest would be embarked on by students if the management did not respond to the issues raised.
The General Secretary of the union, Acheme Ramsonon, said before students went on demonstration, the union had written several letters to the authorities but there were no responses. He said the peaceful protest was to explain the plight of students to the management. Oluwasegun Iroko, the union’s Public Relations Officer, praised the students for peaceful conduct, saying Aluta was not to destroy property during protest.