The Federal Government has said that protesting members of the National Association of Nigerian students, NANS, that blocked a traffic-laden section of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway are “viol@ting” the country’s law.
Recall that on Tuesday, September 13, the students disrupted the flow of traffic on the road as they staged a protest against the lingering ASUU strike. While speaking to statehouse correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting today September 14, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) recognizes and protects citizens’ right to public protests but does not empower any Nigerian to “inflict p@in and inconvenience on other people.”
He appealed for more patience from Nigerians saying that there is no alternative route 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 p@in 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 viol@tion of law,” he said.