by Musa Abdullahi
Students of the University of Abuja under the aegis, FCT National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, yesterday locked out the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Senator Bala Mohammed and other government officials over the refusal of the administration to purchase for them a School bus.
The protesting students who barricaded the entrance and exit gates of the FCTA Secretariat in Area 11, Garki District, Abuja for about some hours on Thursday, demanded that the FCTA must purchase a vehicle for their association immediately to enable them attend their various conventions; develop the University of Abuja’s Unity Park; solve water supply challenges at the University of Abuja’s mini campus and furnish the common room of the NANS Chairman.
The protesting students, led by the Chairman of the University of Abuja Chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Friday Omadewu Adayi, laid siege to the FCTA Secretariat from 12noon till yesterday evening insisting that they would not leave the place unless the FCTA met their demands.
In a statement condemning the act, the FCTA noted that 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, just as it described the protest as unjustifiable and embarrassing.
Signed by the Special Assistant, Media to the Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi, the FCTA said, ” The point should be stressed that it is not part of FCTA’s official responsibility to furnish the NANS Chairman’s common room at the University of Abuja or to provide internal infrastructure in Federal universities. Similarly, government action on the kind of demands made by the students is discretionary and dependent on resource availability.
” Nonetheless, the FCTA cherishes robust relationship with NANS even though it frowns at any attempt to hold it to ransom by students over welfare and logistics demands by individuals or groups.
“The FCTA advises the students to desist from lawless acts like blocking of gates. However, the Administration will continue to assist students through its various mechanisms including award of scholarships. It will equally continue to give logistics support to students’ organizations such as NANS provided that due process is followed and sufficient notice given in all cases. While we are doing this, we call on parents to always watch their children and wards closely by calling them to order whenever the need arises.
“The FCT Administration through its Water Board has provided potable and wholesome water to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory including Gwagwalada township by the recent commissioning of the Lower Usuma Dam Phases III & IV Water Treatment Plants and therefore it is the duty of individuals, institutions and corporate organizations to undertake water reticulation in their areas of abode. “