The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was partially blocked by protesting students on Wednesday, according to the Federal Government, who were “violating” the law.
This was stated by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in a press conference with State House reporters shortly after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting, which was held on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja under the chairmanship of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Fashola pointed out that while the Nigerian constitution recognizes and defends citizens’ rights to participate in public protests, it forbids any Nigerian from “inflicting pain and annoyance on other persons.”
The National Association of Nigerian Students organized a demonstration on Tuesday that caused a bottleneck on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and left drivers and passengers stuck.
The demonstration happened right after the expressway’s Sagamu Interchange portion, heading towards Lagos.
Students could be seen holding up signs and singing songs of solidarity as they bemoaned the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike, which has now lasted seven months.
To make their point that the strike must stop, they besieged a major highway and other locations.
Responding to a question about the persistent bottleneck on the unfinished highway parts, Fashola pleaded with Nigerians to exercise greater patience, claiming there was no other option in the already developed areas.
“Once again, I apologize and understand the commuters who depend on that location to carry on with their life,” he stated. The reason we left it to be the last was primarily due to the fact that the final six kilometers into Lagos are the most densely populated and occupied. Alternative routes for people have very limited space. So please be patient with us.
“I also heard that some incensed students will be protesting on the street under the leadership of NANS. In my humble opinion, it offers absolutely no assistance to the populace.
“Our Constitution provides excellent protection for the right to protest, but that protection does not extend to the right to cause harm or discomfort to others. Therefore, while the protests may continue, they shouldn’t obstruct the road in order to carry them out. That alone constitutes a legal infraction.”