Students under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter besieged the Minister’s office, Bala Mohammad to intervene on their poor welfare and other issues affecting them.
The aggrieved students drawn from the University of Abuja and other institutions in the FCT, barricaded the entrance and exit gates of the FCTA Secretariat, barring movement around there, for over two hours.
The students, who carried placards berating the FCT minister and his aides, for allegedly being indifferent to their demand for solutions to their plight, laid siege to the FCTA Secretariat saying they will not leave until their demands are met.
Among the demands of the students were that the FCTA should purchase a vehicle for their association, to enable them participate in their various conventions; and develop the University of Abuja’s Unity Park.
Others include solving of water supply challenges at the University of Abuja’s mini campus and furnishing of the common room of the NANS Chairman.
According to the Chairman of the NANS, University of Abuja Chapter, Comrade Friday Adayi, who led the protest, they had embarked on the demonstration, following the expiration of a two week ultimatum given to the FCTA.
He said that FCTA had promised to provide them with a bus, for which they had written several letters, as a reminder to fulfill the pledge, including seeking its intervention on resolving other issues affecting their welfare, but the FCTA decided to ignore them.
He maintained that it was the constitutional right of the students to request for assistance from any government institution, which is what the students were exercising.
However, selected leaders of the students later met with FCT officials led by the FCT Education Secretary, Alhaji Kabir Usman who promised to look into their demands.
The Secretary informed the students that most of their demands were not under the FCTA’s purview, urging them to take them to the Federal Ministry of Education, which administers the University of Abuja.
He however disclosed that the FCT minister had already approved the purchase a bus for FCT NANS, which was captured in the 2015 budget, which would be pursued if funds become available.
Meanwhile, SA Media to the Minister of FCT, Nosike Ogbuenyi, who condemned the action of the students, as unjustified and embarrassing, advised them to desist from lawless acts like blocking of gates.
“It is therefore evident that while the FCTA acknowledges the right of the students to request for assistance, it abhors any action taken to disrupt government activities.
“It was wrong for the students to attempt to use force to compel government to fulfill requests that are not statutory responsibilities of the FCTA,” he stressed.