Protesting students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, MAPOLY, Abeokuta on Monday engaged the Secretary to Ogun State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, in war of words over the crisis rocking the school.
Hundreds of the students earlier blocked parts of the Abeokuta metropolis while protesting the stoppage of their semester examinations.
The protesters, adorned in black attire and carrying anti-government placards, were seen on major streets of the town marching towards the governor’s office at Oke-Mosan. Their leaders also had a letter of protest they wanted to submit to the governor.
The students were however peeved when the governor did not come out to address then but instead sent the official.
Apparently irked by the students action, Mr. Adeoluwa, rather than appeal to them, described them (students) as unruly, expressing disappointment over what he described as their uncivil conduct.
The students in reaction said the official was not competent enough to address them and asked him to return to his office.
Mr. Adeoluwa, after failed attempts to calm the angry students, told journalists that the students should not have been confrontational.
He, however, assured that the government would continue to interface with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that all issues surrounding the purported delay in the conduct of their examinations were addressed.
“The issue appears to be between them and their lecturers. We tried to speak with them but they were unruly and disorderly. It is difficult for anybody to engage with them in this violent circumstance,” he said.
“They are our children and stakeholders. We appreciate their concerns. But as a government, we think the agitation can be addressed peacefully,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Director of Media and Publicity of National Association of Nigerian students, NANS Olasunkanmi Akinlotan in an interview with journalists said the students will not relent until the government heeds their call.
Over the past few weeks, the state government and lecturers of the institution have been at loggerheads over the conversion of the polytechnic to university status and subsequent relocation of the polytechnic to Ipokia, a border town in the state.
The lecturers alleged that the state government did not follow due process. They resolved not to resume at the new school premises until the governor met the criteria set by the National Board of Technical Education for such a process.
However, the state has stood its ground on the matter.
The lecturers subsquently embarked on a strike that has crippled academic activities for over three months, leading to the stalling of scheduled semester examinations in the school.