FEMI GBAJABIAMILA

LEADER OF THE 8TH HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NIGERIA

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Please take over LAUTECH, Students beg Nigerian govt.

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Students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, have appealed to the Federal Government to take over the school.

The students made the appeal on Thursday at the National Assembly on the second day of their sit out at the entrance to the Assembly in Abuja to call attention to the protracted crisis that has kept the university shut since last year.

A large contingent of the students had arrived Abuja at 8 p.m on Tuesday and encamped at the main entrance to the National Assembly until Thursday afternoon after drawing the attention of the federal lawmakers.

Some of the students who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday explained that the two owner states of the university, Oyo and Osun, have been unwilling and unable to fund LAUTECH since they established their individual state universities.

The students’ union president, Bakare Olatunde, said the students decided to take their protest to Abuja to draw the attention of the Federal Government and other stakeholders in the country to intervene and proffer a lasting solution to the problems that have crippled the university.

He said the House Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and some members of the House had addressed them and promised to help in finding a lasting solution to the crisis.

“We were told that the Federal Government cannot adopt a school without going through a formal procedure because we are in a democratic era, but the legislators said they are already working on the issue as it has been raised in the House.”

In a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES later on Thursday evening, Mr. Gbajabiamila confirmed meeting with the students.

He said he had assured them that despite the rigorous process involved in transferring the ownership of their institution, the House would apply a coordinated approach to resolve the crisis.

“I apologized on behalf on the governments because we must all take responsibility, since it is about funding to improve learning environment,” the House Leader said in the statement.,

“We will urge the Federal Government to work on possible ways to step in,” Mr. Gbajabiamila stated.

The institution jointly owned by Oyo and Osun states has been shut since June 2016 by the workers, the result of the the failure of the two states to fulfill their shared funding responsibility.

The school had been closed earlier in 2015 just before the students were scheduled to begin their examinations.

Subsequently, the two state governments managed to come up with N500 million to settle the workers’ salaries thus enabling the students to resume briefly and complete the 2015/2016 first semester in April 2016.

But the the money could only cover the workers’ salaries for two and a half months, following which the workers again downed tools in June last year. Although it reopened briefly in February, there have been no academic activities.

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Dean of Student Affairs of the university, Lukuman Jinadu, explained that the students acted out of frustration by taking their protest to Abuja.

He said the two state governors were working to restore normalcy to the school.

The students later on Thursday afternoon evacuated their protest site to return to Ogbomosho, taking with them the hope that a lasting solution will be provided through the intervention of the Federal Government.

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