Hundreds of students from public institutions in Edo State, on Monday held the Benin Airport by the jugular, as they protested the continued closure of their schools due to the warning strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
Vehicular movement on the busy road was temporarily paralyzed for some hours, as the situation forced commuters to remain at the spot, resulting in long queues of vehicles on the Benin Airport road.
The protesting students urged the Federal Government to resolve the ASUU strike permanently and invest in education, noting that government-owned universities are the only system that serves the children of the masses.
They chanted solidarity songs, stating that they were tired of staying at home doing nothing and want immediate resolution of the crisis between the striking university lecturers and the federal government.
The students, at the Airport gate, also displayed banners with various inscriptions lamenting that the disruption to their academic calendar has affected their plans, while security personnel had a busy day trying to prevent the protesters from gaining entry into the Airport.
ASUU on Monday announced the extension of its three-month strike by additional three months. The union blamed federal government for the decision, because of failure by the government to address issues in contention.
ASUU’s demands include the non-implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with government in December 2020 on funding for revitalisation of public universities (both federal and states), renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Other outstanding issues are earned academic allowances; state universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries, non-remittance of third-party deductions and rejection of UTAS that ASUU technical team developed to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).