Punch Newspapers / Taiwo Ojoye / 3 hours ago

Punch Newspapers / Taiwo Ojoye / 3 hours ago

John Ameh, Abuja

Protesting students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, stormed the National Assembly on Thursday over the closure of the school for about 10 months.

The students sought the intervention of the National Assembly to transfer the ownership of the school from the Osun and Oyo state governments to the Federal Government.

The institution had been shut, owing to unresolved dispute between the members of staff and the governments of Osun and Oyo states – the joint owners of the university.

The House of Representatives had earlier debated a motion on the matter and passed a resolution asking the Committee on Tertiary Education to look into it.

But on Thursday, the students brought a petition amid protest and urged the legislature to intervene further by asking the Federal Government to take over the school.

The protesters were received and addressed by the  Leader of House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, on behalf of the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

Gbajabiamila met the students in company with the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr.  Chukwuma Onyema; Mr. Akeem Adeyemi; Mr. Dapo Lam-Adesina; and Mr. Olusumbo Olugbemi.

Gbajabiamila’s media aide, Mr. Olanrewaju Smart, in a statement, quoted the leader as assuring the students that the House would find an amicable solution to the dispute.

He, however, clarified that it might not be exactly possible for the Federal Government to take over the school without passing through some rigorous process.

 “When we received your petition to the House, we hurriedly left the chambers to listen to you because we understand your plight.

“Education is a priority for us in the National Assembly and we will look into this matter.

“Let me bring to your attention that Honourable Segun Odebunmi from Oyo State, had brought a motion on the floor of the House and a resolution was passed for the House Committee on Education to look into this matter and come up with recommendations that will guide the House because there are many unintended consequences that can come out of students’ absence from school,” the statement quoted Gbajabiamila as saying.

In their petition signed by the Students’ Union President, Bakare Solace, the protesters noted that both Osun and Oyo states now had their separate schools thus leaving LAUTECH in a limbo.

 “It is pertinent, we also bring to your notice sir, that Osun State had a separate state university, just as Oyo State recently inaugurated hers, leaving LAUTECH in a dilemma,” they stated.

However, Gbajabiamila stated that taking over the school by the Federal Government would not come easily.

The statement quoted him further, “You are not fatherless or an orphan; you have a government with your interest at heart.

“But, there are complications here because we run a constitutional democracy; your institution was established by two state governments and from your request, it is not that easy for the Federal Government to take over a state-owned institution because we run a democracy.

“But there are ways we can come in because the welfare of citizens is our primary responsibility and the issue of education is shared among the three tiers of government.”

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