River Niger Bridge at Onitsha

Traffic on the very busy Niger Bridge was severely disrupted on Friday when no fewer than 500 students blocked the bridge to protest the ongoing strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The students barricaded the bridge causing traffic jam for about three hours.

There has been a stalemate between ASUU and the Federal Government over the non implementation of the 2009 agreement for more than 100 days.

It was gathered that passengers, motorists and pedestrians passing the Onitsha/Asaba Expressway at about 12pm on Friday were stranded at the ever busy Onitsha Bridge- Head because of the action of the students.

It was learnt that some of the passengers had to disembark from their boarded vehicles to trek long distances to their destinations.

Some of the passengers also found alternative route to their various destinations and stations.

The students, however, demanded that they wanted an end to the ongoing ASUU strike.

One of them, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone around 6:45pm, Adebimpe Olu, said: ?All we want is an end to ASUU strike. If we are not comfortable, we will not make others comfortable too. All Nigerians must bear from our suffering. We are more than 500 and we came from different states.”

 One of the pedestrian affected lamented that the students should not have protested during the weekend.

He said: ?Today is a bad day for me. I wish I did not pass the bridge and I must tell you that this is a wrong time for them to protest because a lot of people will be passing the bridge today.?

The students? action is the latest in the series of protests against the hardline stance taken by ASUU. Earlier in the week market women in Abuja staged a protest appealing to the lecturers to return to their classrooms.

However, reacting to the protest by the market women, ASUU insisted that they were not under any pressure to call off their action, stressing that they would not back down until government came good on the agreement it signed with the union four years ago.


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