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Nigerian students protest lecturers strike, block Lagos traffic

HUNDREDS of students blocked the main airport road in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos to protest against the disruption to classes caused by a lecturers’ strike that has been going on for more than seven months.

Strikes over pay by public university lecturers are common in Nigeria and often go on for months. The latest action started in February.

Chanting and holding placards, students gathered on Lagos International Airport Road, causing gridlock in a city that already struggles with daily traffic congestion and leaving motorists and air passengers stranded.

Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) staged a protest against prolonged strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the access road to the Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) had at the weekend threatened to occupy major airports to send a message that the students were tired of the pay stand-off between lecturers and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

“We are here to ground the economy at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport so that the government, the first class people, can be aware that our students are off campus now (for) seven months,” Awoyinfa Opeoluwa, NANS spokesperson for the southwest region told Reuters.

Passengers were forced to walk with their luggage in the rain for at least 5 kilometres (3 miles) to and from the airport.

Dozens of armed police watched from a distance.

Demonstrations often turn deadly in Nigeria. The last major protest was against police brutality two years ago, which ended with some protesters being shot and killed.