The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was partially stopped 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 (rtd).
Fashola pointed out that while the Nigerian constitution recognizes and defends citizens’ rights to participate in public protests, it forbids any Nigerian from “inflict pain and inconvenience on other people.”
The National Association of Nigerian Students organized a demonstration on Tuesday that, according to The PUNCH, 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.
He said, “Once again, I apologise and empathise with commuters who need that place to get on with their lives. It’s the place we left to be the last, really because it’s the most built-up area, the last six kilometers into Lagos; very densely populated and occupied. There’s very little room for alternative routes for people. So, you just have to bear with us.
“I also heard that some aggrieved students under the aegis of NANS are going to the road to protest. My respectful view is that it is not helpful at all to the citizens.
“The right to protest is a very well-protected right in our Constitution, but it does not include the right to inflict pain and inconvenience on other people. And so, whilst the protests can go on, they should refrain from blocking the road in order to do their protests. That in itself is a violation of law.”