Wednesday 28 May 2014

Closure of Poly and Colleges: Police Again Brutally Repress Mass Protest Today

At least 50 Students and Activists are Arrested


The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the repression of a mass protest of students of polytechnic and colleges of education today by the police with tear gas at Alagomeji Yaba Lagos. About 1000 students and activists held the protest march that started at Yaba College of Technology to protest the failure of government to meet the demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) which has led to the several-month closure of polytechnics and colleges of education nationwide. The polytechnics and colleges of education have been closed down for about 11 and 3 months respectively.  

About 50 protesters including female students were arrested and detained at Adekunle and Sabo police stations both in Yaba Lagos. 

We recall that the police in a similar version brutally repressed the mass protest by ASUP and COEASU to press home their demands in Abuja on April 29 with water cannon and tear gas.  

We condemn this entrenched strong-arm and repressive measure which the Goodluck Jonathan government has adopted as the default response to legitimate demands and democratic actions of workers and youth. Incidentally this relapse into dictatorship and the attacks on democratic rights have become heightened at a period the government has started the celebration of 15 years of the advent of the so-called democracy in Nigeria.

We demand immediate and unconditional release of the arrested protesters. We also demand that the government meet the demands of the striking lecturers of polytechnic and colleges of education so that the schools can be reopened for academic activities. It is an unenviable height of insensitivity by the government to have allowed students to stay at home for several months over a matter that is within its capacity to resolve. This however underscores the anti-poor character of the government.  The protest shall continue until the polytechnics and colleges of education are reopened.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto
National Coordinator ERC

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