It was a scene to behold for many Lagosians on Thursday when aggrieved students of Lagos State University stormed the office of Governor Babatunde Fashola at Alausa, Ikeja. These students said they would not return home until their school fees were reduced and their arrested colleagues released unconditionally.
The students, who arrived at the office at about 3pm in over 10 buses, came along with mats, mosquito nets and cooking pots, among others.
To show their seriousness, the female students quickly swung into action by setting up firewoods to prepare beans near the entrance of the Governor’s Office.
The students also defied a downpour that threatened their demonstration, as they danced to solidarity songs and held mid-day prayers to seek divine intervention.
In a letter to Fashola, titled, ‘Save our future’, which was made available to the press, the students alleged that the tuition hike had taken education beyond their reach.
President of the LASU Student Union Government, Mr. Yusuf Nurudeen, said the students had resolved to fight their cause until their demands were met by the government.
His words: “Our school has been shut down. Students are dropping out of the university on a daily basis. We decided not to engage the party leaders because the people in government do not understand any language. The only language they understand is protest.
“We have resolved to fight this struggle by ourselves. We are a pressure group in the country. We can do this alone. We do not want any person to fight for us. We elected Governor Fashola. We elected all the members of the House of Assembly. They must listen to us.
“Fashola promised us a ‘Better Rewarding Future.” How can we have a rewarding future without education? He has denied us education by the tuition hike. Section 3(1) of the law that established LASU states that the university should be made available for all people irrespective of their socio-economic background and status. Now, the governor has made LASU the university of the rich.
“We will not leave until we hear something from the government. We have gone everywhere and the police shot at us. That is why we decided to come here today and tell the governor what is on our minds. Also, our colleagues arrested by the police must be released unconditionally.
“If the governor refuses to come out, we will remain here until he comes out. If the governor can respond to issues that are less important than this, he should come out and respond to the students of the state he governs.”
As of press time, no official of the state government had attended to the students.
Fashola was said to have left for Port Harcourt to join his colleagues for the Nigerian Governors Forum retreat holding at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge on Friday (today).
However, the commissioners for Information and Strategy, Aderemi Ibirogba, and Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, had on Wednesday, said the government would not be able to reach a conclusion on the tuition until June 9.