The Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, has been closed down indefinitely, following protests by students of the institution.
Tribune reports that the students had taken to the streets on Tuesday morning, following a resolution by the institution’s striking lecturers, after a congress on Monday, to continue their strike.
The Rector, Dr Taiwo Akande, directed that the polytechnic be closed. The polytechnic’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and other unions, including the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Union of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) have been on strike in protest against Dr Akande’s leadership style, which they said was against their interest.
The placard-carrying students, who commenced their protest as early as 7.00 a.m, called for an end to the unions’ strike, saying it was affecting them.
The protest was led by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) South-West coordinator, Mr Sunday Ashefon.
The students also claimed that their fees were outrageous and complained that the polytechnic lacked facilities like electricity and water, just as they also alleged that their hostels and lecture rooms were in bad condition.
The students alleged that the polytechnic authorities were owing the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) electricity bills to the tune of N2.5 million, which had thrown the hostels into darkness.
Their action forced the policemen to disperse the students with tear gas with the protesters scampering to safety.
Speaking with reporters before the students were dispersed, the vice chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Ekiti State, Oluwapelumi Ogunmekun, accused the management and union of playing games with the destiny of the students.
The polytechnic’s Students Union president, Oladapo Ajibola, explained that the students had been on the campus since January 4 without any academic activity going on, saying the students union would hold another meeting with the management to find a way out of the crisis.
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 National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) officials in Abuja, in a bid to resolve the crisis, but argued that the students had to leave the school for all issues to be resolved.
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 in the school, doing nothing.”
A statement by the Principal Assistant Registrar (Information), Mr Adeyemi Adejolu, said the management ordered all students to leave their halls of residence latest by noon on Monday.
It read: “Arising from the ongoing industrial action by the Trade Unions of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, the Rector, Dr Akande, on behalf of the Academic Board of Studies has declared, with immediate effect, a mid-semester break for its full time programme.
“Consequently, all full-time students have been directed to return home and await further instructions.
“All residential students are, therefore, advised in their own interest, to vacate the polytechnic campus latest by 12 noon on Tuesday, January 20.”