By Bukola Idowu, Lagos
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has condemned the unlawful arrest and detention of protesting students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) by the police.
The rights group in a statement made available to journalists demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all the detained students, calling on the Ogun State Government to immediately halt its agenda to sack staff of the institution and meet all the demands of the staff unions so that the institution can be re-opened for students to write their examinations and conclude the semester.
According to ERC, the crisis rocking MAPOLY is due to “the fault and irresponsibility of the Ogun state government.”
It would be recalled that over the past few months, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) has been plagued with crisis over the plan of the Ogun State Government under the leadership of Ibikunle Amosun to sack staff of the institution following the conversion of the polytechnic into a university.
In a bid to save their jobs, the staff unions have had to embark on strikes which had led to disruption of academic calendar with terrible consequence for students of the institution.
“With their lives wasting away at home, the students embarked on protest with a bid to call the attention of the state government to their plight but instead of listening to them, Governor Amosun ordered the police to unleash terror on them resulting in many students sustaining injury and several arrested and detained.
“We of the ERC found it preposterous that a government saddled with the responsibility of improving the education system and to ensure that the students graduating from the institution are able to contribute meaningfully to the society is treating students in this manner.
Clearly the Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led State government has proven in both words and action that the improvement of education sector is of no priority to it.
“To add salt to injury, some of the protesting students whose sole crime was to demand for the resumption of academic activities and the improvement of the education sector which should have been the priority of a responsible government are now been held in police custody.
“As a matter of exigency, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) demands the immediate and unconditional release of the students. We simultaneously reassert our position that if sincerely the government is interested in provision of quality university education, the huge and vast resources of the state, if judiciously spent, can go a long way in funding public education adequately in the state.
“On the whole, we hereby make a clarion call to the Labour Unions, civil society organizations, students unions, pro-students organization and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on Ibikunle Amosun-led government not only on the release of the students but likewise for the immediate re-opening of the institution for the continuation of the academic activities.” The statement read.
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