by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Following the Plateau State Polytechnic Students, on Monday, who staged a protest over the postponement of their semester examinations by the school authorities, casualties have been recorded in the incident – leading to 7 students being hospitalized, who could not stand the teargas fire.
The students’ protest was because of the industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Union of the Academic Staff of Plateau State Owned Tertiary Institutions in the state last Friday.
The protest, which was meant to be peaceful, was high-jacked by hoodlums, as few cars had their windscreens smashed. As early as 8:00 in the morning of Monday, the students trooped out in large numbers and blocked the Yakubu Gowon Way, a major highway leading into and out of Jos City.
Our correspondent learned that, the postponement of the examination was as a result of an indefinite strike embarked upon by the lecturers of the institution, as the lecturers had earlier issued a Notice of Strike to the State Government over their inability to meet the demands of earned allowances and other sundry issues agreed upon.
One of the students, Tindak Teophilius, who spoke to our correspondent, said about 7 of their students are currently receiving treatment in a hospital in Jos, adding that, some of the victims were Asthmatic patients, who could not stand the teargas fired to disperse the students.
He lamented that, the decision of the management to postpone the examination was an attempt to truncate their academic journey, saying, “We came to school this morning to start our examinations only to see a circular that our lecturers have been on strike since Friday.
“We were not informed, nobody said anything to us; we just discovered that we cannot start our examinations. That is why students are protesting.
“We have spent over three years in just one semester owing to Covid-19 lockdown, but largely due to the various strikes embarked upon by our lecturers, and we keep paying for our accommodation, school fees and other expenses.
“More so, we are getting old, and by the time we graduate, we can’t find jobs because of age,” he lamented.
Also speaking, another student, Pam Bulus, decried the incessant strike by their lecturers, adding that the development has made stagnant their academic progression.
Said he: “Nobody has come to address us on the issue, and we feel this is not right. We demand a proper explanation from the management on why we cannot start our examinations today; and we are tired of this back-and-forth. Our academic journey is suffering and this is not good for us.”
Efforts to reach Mr John Ramadan of the institution’s Public Relations Department at the time of sending this report was abortive.