The university lecturers want the federal government to implement a 2009 agreement.
A detachment of anti-riot policemen on Friday halted the planned public demonstration by lecturers at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, in Abia.
The protest was organised by members of the university’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The lecturers had gathered on the campus for the take off of the protest.
The teachers, who were dressed in black T-shirts, marched from the university pavilion to the campus main gate, where they were stopped by the policemen.
Addressing journalists on their action, the Chairman of the union, Uzochukwu Onyebinama, said the protest was intended to inform the public that the four-month-old strike by ASUU was not politically-motivated.
Mr. Onyebinama said that no university in the country had received the N100 billion which the federal government claimed to have released for infrastructural development.
“If the federal government is saying that the strike is politically-motivated, let it implement the 2009 agreement it reached with ASUU and see if the strike will continue,’’ he said.
Mr. Onyebinama decried the poor state of hostels for the growing population of students in the nation’s public universities and the lack of equipment for effective teaching and learning.
He also expressed worry about the dilapidated state of the lecture halls and the lack of basic amenities such as water and electricity in most of the government-owned universities in the country.
The chairman said the industrial action was intended to arrest further decay in the education system.
A cross-section of the lecturers decried the heavy presence of the police to stop the protest, describing it as a breach of their fundamental human rights.
In his reaction, the Commissioner of Police in Abia, Tilli Abubakar, said the police wanted to ensure that the protest was not hijacked by hoodlums to commit crime.
Mr. Abubakar told the News Agency of Nigeria that the police would not allow any action that would lead to a breach of the peace in any part of the state.
He said the police’ action did not breach the fundamental human rights of the protesting lecturers.
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