Students barricade FCT Minister’s office, demand convention vehicle

Students of the University of Abuja on Thursday barricaded the entrance and exit gates of FCT Minister’s office for over two hours.

The protesting students, led by the Chairman of the University of Abuja Chapter of the National
Association of Nigerian Students, Friday Adayi, laid siege to the FCT Administration Secretariat between 12 and 2pm, insisting that the government must purchase a vehicle for their
association immediately to enable them attend their various conventions.

They also demanded for development of UniAbuja’s Unity Park and an immediate end to
the water supply challenges at the university’s mini campus.

“The FCT Administration should also furnish the common room of the NANS Chairman,” the
students stated.

Selected leaders of the students later met with FCT officials led by the FCT Education Secretary, Alhaji Kabir Usman who promised to look into their demands, “despite the obvious fact that most of them were either untenable or should have been pursued through the Federal
Ministry of Education which administers the University of Abuja.”

The Secretary announced that the request by the students for a vehicle was receiving attention and would be granted if funds become available.

But the Special Assistant, media, to the FCT minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi in a statement
condemned the action of the students, particularly the disruption of activities at the
secretariat and their attempt to compel the government to fulfill their requests, which he
said were not statutory responsibilities of the FCTA.

He said, “The point should be stressed that it is not part of FCTA’s official responsibility to
furnish the NANS Chairman’s common room at the University of Abuja or to provide internal
infrastructure in Federal universities. Similarly,
government action on the kind of demands made by the students is discretionary and dependent on resource availability.

“Nonetheless, the FCTA cherishes robust relationship with NANS even though it frowns at any attempt to hold it to ransom by students over welfare and logistics demands by individuals or groups.”

The Administration advised the students to desist from lawless acts like blocking of gates,
noting however, that it would continue to assist them through its various mechanisms including
award of scholarships.

Ogbuenyi said, “The FCT Administration through its Water Board has provided potable and
wholesome water to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory including Gwagwalada township by the recent commissioning of the Lower Usuma Dam Phases III & IV Water Treatment Plants and therefore it is the duty of
individuals, institutions and corporate organizations to undertake water reticulation in
their areas of abode.”

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