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Strike: It’s Illegal To Block Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, FG Tells NANS

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 recognises and defends citizens’ rights to participate in public protests, it forbids any Nigerian from “inflicting pain and annoyance on other persons.”

ANAEDOONLINE.NG reported that a protest staged by members of the National Association of Nigerian Students on Tuesday led to a gridlock on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, leaving motorists and passengers stranded.

The protest took place just after the Sagamu Interchange section of the expressway, towards Lagos.

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Students were seen raising placards and chanting solidarity songs as they lamented the now seven-month old strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

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They laid siege to the major highway and others to drive home their demand to end the strike.

But fielding a question on the recurrent gridlock on the uncompleted sections of the highway, Fashola appealed for more patience from Nigerians saying that there was no alternative route in the already built-up 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.”

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