The Federal Government has stated that protesting members of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, who have blocked a heavily trafficked section of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway are “violating” Nigerian law.
On Tuesday, September 13, students disrupted the flow of traffic on Lagos-Ibadan expressway to protest the ongoing ASUU strike.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told statehouse correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting today, September 14, that the Nigerian Constitution (as amended) recognizes and protects citizens’ right to public protest but does not empower any Nigerian to “inflict pain and inconvenience on other people.”
He pleaded for more patience from Nigerians, claiming that there are no other options in the already built-up areas.
“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 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 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,” he said.