- DEMANDS IMMEDIATE & UNCONDITIONAL IMPLEMENTATION OF COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS REACHED WITH ASUP & COEASU!!
1. The Joint Action Front (JAF), whose members were part of the MASS PROTEST organized today May 28 by the Concerned Students against Education Commercialisation (COSATEC) wishes to strongly condemn the trigger happy armed police REPRESSION of the peaceful protest, culminating in the arrest and brutality of over 100 students, activists, and journalists.
2. The peaceful procession of students and activists under the leadership of the National Coordinator and National Secretary of COSATEC – Comrades Usman Oloyede and Dada Idris drew thousands of students from Yaba College of Technology, Federal Polytechnics’ students from Ede, Ilaro, Offa, and Federal Colleges of Education from Akoka-Lagos and other states across the country, kicked off with remarks by the leadership of COSATEC and the Secretary of JAF – Comrade Abiodun Aremu; demanding that the FG should IMPLEMENT agreements reached with ASUP and COEASU in order to ensure the return to academic normalcy for the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education students.
3. The peaceful protest started with a procession from the gate of YABATECH at about 10am and marched peacefully through the Murtala Mohammed Way Ebute Metta, enroute to erect Barricade at the entrance of the Third Mainland Bridge by Adekunle junction. It was at this point that the Police descended heavily on the peaceful protest with sporadic shooting of teargas, live ammunition and beating of harmless students, activists and journalists with gun butts. Some of the buses that carried students during the procession were not spared as their windscreen were shattered. Even the symbolic Coffin and Cow inscribed with “Death to Education in Nigeria” were targets of police destruction.
4. Worst of all was the brutalization of Mr. Segun Akinpelu, a renowned reporter with the Sahara Reporters whose was mercilessly brutalized and his camera and other recording gadgets were completely destroyed into pieces. To cap it all, over 100 students, journalists and activists that included Comrade Akanni Iromini of Awake Nigeria and Mr. Akinpelu were arrested and bundled into a Black Maria.
5. While in the Black Maria, the following phone conversations were exchanged with the Secretary of JAF by Comrade Akanni and Mr. Segun:
· From Akanni: “Police supplied cold water sachets to cool down the heat in the Black Maria stationed at the entrance of Third Mainland Bridge at Adekunle .”
· From Segun: “I have been bruised and arrested along with the protesting students by policemen. My camera broken and all my gadgets taken away. We are still in Black Maria at the Adekunle junction”.
6. JAF commends the RESISTANCE by the students and other civil society activists in the protests, which forced the Police authority to eventually “FREE” the arrested and detained students and activists from the suffocating Black Maria, after 3 hours, and were driven to the back street of YABATECH to disembark at about 3.30pm.
7. JAF recalls that the Strikes by academic staffs in the polytechnics and colleges for education across the country became necessary because the Federal and State Governments FAILED to IMPLEMENT agreements they freely entered into and signed with the ASUP in 2009 and the COEASU) in 2010; with the implication of ASUP and SSANIP’s strike lasting from April to July 2013 when it was suspended and resumed since October 2013; while that of COEASU started in December 2013.
8. JAF notes that the basic demands of ASUP and SSANIP as contained in the 2009 Agreements signed with the Government(s) have been: on the need for a National Polytechnic Commission that will regulate education standards in the polytechnics, Non-Commencement of the renegotiation of the FGN/ASUP Agreements as contained in the signed 2009 Agreement and Failure by the FG to release the White Paper on the Visitations to the Polytechnics.
9. JAF insists that the Resistance Should Continue and urges Nigerians to support the protest actions by the students and the ongoing strike actions by ASUP, SSANIP, and COEASU until the Federal Government and State Governments concerned with the management of the various tertiary institutions IMPLEMENT without further delay the Agreements reached with the various unions.
FORWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER!
Dr. Oladipo Fashina Comrade Abiodun Aremu
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary