Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have vowed to ground activities at the local and international airports across the country starting Monday, September 19 over the lingering strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since February 2022.
Chairman, NANS National Task Force on ‘End ASUU Strike Now,’ Ojo Raymond Olumide, said the decision to ground airport activities was due to the successes recorded in its road protests in which several highways were blocked. According to him, students were tired of pleading with both parties to end the strike.
He was speaking to AV1 News during a road block by the protesting students at the Benin – Ore road where vehicles and other activities on the highway were grounded for hours on Friday.
‘’ We want to let the world know about the pains and anguish students are going through in Nigeria. We call on all students across the country to rise and join us as we take our destinies into our hands. Our demands remain clear and simple. We call on ASUU leadership for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss solidarity actions and plan for the next phase of the struggles.”
Olumide said the grounding of airports was to make every Nigerian share in the pains of the students occasioned by the prolonged strike action.
“We are tired of staying at home. It has been seven Months since the strike begun, the world is moving on while we are standing still. Most of our ladies have gone into prostitution while, our males are now Okada (Commercial bike) riders. We pass a vote of No Confidence on both Ministers of Labour and Education! We call for the proper funding of the educational sector.’’
On why they choose to go this route, he responded saying grounding the airport was their own way of expressing their grievances and getting their message across to the Federal Government.
‘’For us to get solidarity, we will ground the local and international airports. And they know the effect of us grounding the airport. The only thing we request is for them is to open our campuses back. We call on the Buhari government to pay all outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers. The policy of “No Work, No Pay” is a fascist one. It is, therefore condemnable and non-acceptable to all the millions of students in Nigeria. We will, by this statement, not beg again. We shall be mobilizing all students to shut down the country. No Education! No Movement,” he said.
He also cautioned ASUU on the need to insist on other demands that led to the strike action. According to him, the need to improve and develop the Education sector is paramount to the future of students in the Country.
‘’There is no point arguing about who is at fault or what is to be done. It is very clear that the rulers underfund education and the Buhari government is failing in its promises to revamp education. As major stakeholders in the educational sector, we are the ones who can save ourselves. We have monitored the yearnings of students from campus to campus through their social media platforms and also in their public writings. Students all over Nigeria stand with ASUU. Our lecturers suffer the same hardships we suffer. The staff Houses are as bad as the Students Hostels. In South Africa, a Professor’s Laboratory is far more equipped than that of any university in Nigeria.’’
AVI News Reporter observed that most of the Travelers though tired appeared to exerecise patience with the students as they watched them protest on the highway. Many expressed concern over the prolonged Asuu strike calling on the government to heed the cry of the students.
‘’We stand in solidarity with the student as parents, we are paying dearly for their long stay at home as we will have to pay twice or more for bills such as rents and other basic needs.’’
After what looked like an eternity, the students finally moved the road blocks out of the highways allowing free movement of vehicles once again. While the long wait on the highway may have driven home the message as intended by the students, it is hoped that the Federal government equally gets the same message heeding the students’ plea and the strike called off without delay.