The statement issued by the Deputy Registrar claimed that the closure which took immediate effect was “a mid-semester break for its full time programme,” and directed all full time students to return home and await further instructions.
“All residential students are therefore advised in their own interests to vacate the Polytechnic Campus latest by 12noon, today, Tuesday, 20th January, 2015,” it added.
The student protest was sparked by a congress held by the polytechnic’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics on Monday in which the lecturers resolved to continue with their strike.
The closure order further infuriated the students who demanded the removal of the rector over failure to reconcile with the aggrieved unions.
ASUP, the Non-Academic Staff Union and the Senior Staff Union of Nigeria Polytechnics had been on strike protesting against Akande’s leadership style which they said was against their interest.
The placard-carrying students who commenced their protest as early as 7am called for an end to the strike embarked upon by the unions which they said was affecting them.
The protest was led by the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest coordinator, Sunday Ashefon.
The students claimed their school fees were outrageous and also complained that the polytechnic lacked electricity and water, adding that their hostels and lecture rooms were in bad condition.
The students alleged that the polytechnic authorities were owing the Benin Electricity Distribution Company about N2.5 million electricity bills which had thrown the hostels into darkness.
They blocked the Ado-Ikare road causing traffic gridlock. It took a combined team of Special Response Squad, Special Crime Control, the Police and Directorate of Security Service to disperse the angry students with tear gas.
Speaking with reporters, the Vice Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Ekiti State, Oluwapelumi Ogunmekun, said strikes in the polytechnic had disrupted academic activities for the last one year.
He accused the management and union of playing games with the destiny of the students expressing anger that lecturers at their Monday meeting voted in favour of continuation of their strike.
Ogunmekun alleged that the Student Union Government of the polytechnic had been compromised by the management hence the invitation to NANS to “fight on behalf of the students.”
But the polytechnic SUG president, Oladapo Ajibola, denied being compromised by the management saying he was also part of the protest to ensure the resolution of industrial action embarked upon by the unions.
He explained that the students had been on the campus since January 4 without any academic activity going on, saying the student union would have another meeting with the management to find a way out of the crisis.
The Deputy Rector (Academics), Afolabi Bamidele, explained that the management was working hard to resolve the crisis rocking the polytechnic and a headway would soon be achieved.
He disclosed that the management had met with the officials of the National Board for Technical Education, and Ministry of Education, and national leadership of the three unions in Abuja in a bid to resolve the crisis.
Bamidele said, “We are having a headway with the unions but one of the unions had a congress on Monday and voted that the strike should continue and we now feel that the students should go home so that they won’t be staying in the school doing nothing.”
Culled From PunchNg