Students of the 18 Northern states who are on an exchange program in Kwara state government-owned Secondary school in the early hours of Saturday staged a protest against the state government over alleged poor welfare services.
The students who trooped out of Government Secondary School, Ilorin as early as 4am blocked the Maraba/Sango highway with used tyres and made a bonfire in front of the gate leading to their school.
The bonfire caused heavy traffic along the highway as vehicles going to Jebba and Kaduna and other parts of the North were held up in the traffic.
The students who also blocked the road accused the state government of providing poor welfare services including poor quality of food and hostels.
However, riot policemen who arrived at the scene dispersed the students and ordered them to go back to the school premises while they put out the fire and cleared the debris around 7:10am.
The state Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Bilikisu Oniyangi attributed the cause of the protest to indiscipline among the students.
Hajia Oniyangi, who denied that the students were being poorly treated stated that the protest was sparked by wrong information that the school should have closed for the first term on Friday.
Hajia Oniyangi who spoke with our correspondent after addressing the students said that the students received information that other states had closed for the term on Friday.
“The students asked why should their own holiday be delayed till December 21st. They did not know that each state has its own school calendar and we have to abide with our state school calendar.
“We have explained to them that they should be patient till next Friday, December 21st when the schools in the state will be officially closed to go on holiday.
The commissioner said that nothing was destroyed on the school premises during the protest adding, “we have talked to them that they should wait till Friday and they have agreed. They got information that their colleagues in other states have vacated, we have our own school calendar which we have to follow and we can not copy other states.