Aregbesola and Ajimobi are to be Blamed for the Crisis in LAUTECH
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns last Friday’s (9th December 2016) violent attack unleashed by armed police on protesting students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho.
We condemn the police for this violent attack. We demand that the police must henceforth respect students’ fundamental rights to air their grievances through peaceful demonstrations.
Many students were reportedly injured when a contingent of armed police from the Owode police station led by the DPO, Abubakar M shot teargas at them. The students were protesting the continued closure of the University for about 6 months now as a result of the inability of the two owners of the public institution – Osun and Oyo states – to fund the University adequately.
Between them, Osun state and Oyo state are owing about 20 months of subvention. At the moment, all categories of staff are being owed several backlog of salaries and allowances leading to the unions embarking on strike actions to demand adequate funding of the institution and payment of the owed salaries and allowances.
The ERC fully backs the struggle of the staff unions because it is a struggle to resist the penchant of Oyo and Osun to shirk their responsibilities towards the institution. We put the blame for the continued closure of the University on the intransigence of the anti-education governments of Oyo and Osun states.
At the same time, we share the concern and anger of students over the continued closure. Six (6) months of idleness at home is enough to spark anger among students. This is an entire six months wasted in the lives of these young people for no reason of theirs. The ERC stands with LAUTECH students and urge them to organize bigger protest and demonstrations until the demands for improved funding and re-opening of the University are met. We call on the entire students’ movement, the labour movement, civil society organizations and the general public to rise to the aid of LAUTECH staff and students by condemning the refusal of Osun and Oyo states to fulfill their responsibilities.
If there is anyone that should be blamed for the impasse in LAUTECH, it is the anti-education and anti-poor All Progressive Congress (APC) governments of Osun and Oyo states. Their pro-capitalist policies of education underfunding and commercialization is what is behind this impasse. Otherwise there should be no reason for the joint ownership of LAUTECH to generate crisis. Rather it should be an advantage where both state governments are committed to discharging their responsibilities to public education by committing adequate resources to it.
But the track record of the Aregbesola-led Osun state government and the Ajimobi-led Oyo state government shows they are both virulently and notoriously anti-education, anti-worker and anti-poor. We therefore call for the unity of staff and students to jointly struggle to ensure that LAUTECH is funded adequately and that the University is also re-opened for academic activities to continue.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto Ibikunle OmoleNational Coordinator (07033697259) National Secretary