September 14, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government, on Wednesday, appealed to protesting students to halt further obstruction of movement on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made the appeal while briefing State House correspondents shortly after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Fashola noted that the Nigerian constitution recognises and protects the citizens’ right to public protests, but does not empower any Nigerian to “inflict pain and inconvenience on other people.”
THEWILL reported that protesting members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), on Tuesday, blocked the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Shagamu Interchange, to protest the prolonged strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The students had laid siege to the major highway and others to drive home their demand to end the strike.
The action had led to a gridlock on the expressway, leaving motorists and passengers stranded.
But fielding a question on the recurrent gridlock on the uncompleted sections of the highway, Fashola appealed for more patience from Nigerians, saying that there was no alternative route in the already built-up areas.
He said, “Once again, I apologise and empathise with commuters who need that place to get on with their lives. It’s the place we left to be the last, really because it’s the most built-up area, the last six kilometres into Lagos; very densely populated and occupied. There’s very little room for alternative routes for people. So, you just have to bear with us.
“I also heard that some aggrieved students under the aegis of NANS are going to the road to protest. My respectful view is that it is not helpful at all to the citizens.
“The right to protest is a very well-protected right in our Constitution, but it does not include the right to inflict pain and inconvenience on other people. And so, whilst the protests can go on, they should refrain from blocking the road, in order to do their protests. That in itself is a violation of law.”