Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have restated their commitment towards the return of Students in the nation ‘s public Universities back to campus. According to NANS, the ongoing #EndASUUStrikeNow which has commenced will be sustained until the Federal Government of Nigeria resolves the issues at stake with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and students return are back to their campuses.
Addressing the press in Lagos Monday, the students lament the fact that Nigerian Students in public Universities have lost a complete academic session due to the dispute between the Federal Government and members of the Academic not counting those that have lost their lives or involve in one casualty or the other due to the protracted ASUU strike. To us, the ASUU strike is germane and the only way to save public higher institutions across the nation from total collapse is to properly invest in the educational sector.
”The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) will continue to ground all the nation public assets from roads to airports including Nigeria Ports Authority if the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour fail to resolve with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in no distant time. For those misconstruing our struggle, we call on them to see reason with Nigerian Students and join us in the struggle to save public education in the country.
”Gentlemen of the press, that public Universities have been shut down in the last seven months is not only disheartening, it connotes a clear demonstration that public tertiary education in this country is treated with utmost disregard. This is particularly disturbing because those who bear the brunt of these frequent crises are not privileged to seek alternatives. Yet, it is such irresponsibility, particularly, on the part of the Federal Government, that has shoehorned the citadels of learning into theatres of despair, and a reason for all stakeholders to be worried.
”The leadership of NANS demand a better deal for education of Nigerian masses because most of the children of the privileged few now study either in overseas or in Private Universities established with our common wealth across the country by the same set of people we entrusted to govern us. This is more reason they will continue to turn deaf ears to the demand by ASUU for improve standard and condition of learning in our public higher institutions.”
They urged the Federal Government to resolve all pending issues with ASUU condemning its actions for not prioritizing the concerns of ASUU despite having had extensive meetings with its leadership, with the view of bringing an end to the protracted industrial action.
They also appealed to the lecturers to intensify the campaign for proper funding of the educational sector and not limit the agitation to the welfare of their members alone.
”Our blocking of public roads and ports is just a warning. If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerians Students who have been at home for the past Seven months. As we promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to hold across the country until we are back to class. This government has pushed so many Nigerians Students into depression. We say enough is enough; we can no longer bear the brunt from this avoidable crisis in our nation public ivory towers again.
”Furthermore, we are aware of the report on the activities of some enemy of progress elements within the students movement whose stock in trade is playing good boy to any government in power with peanuts even when the outcome of the industrial action embark upon by ASUU to save the educational sector will equally affect them and their loved ones. This set of unprogressive self acclaimed students leader who are tagging our END ASUU STRIKE Now struggle as been politically motivated are nothing but hired mercenaries in support of Government insensitivity to the plight of Nigerian Students and poor parents who are bearing the brunt of this strike.”
”Our attention has been drawn to a news of a court judgment mandating the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call of its 7 month strike. As an association, we feel disturbed to read the news of the judgment because we believe that it betrays equity.
According to the students, the Federal Government was not meant to have dragged ASUU to court. The students emphasized that the only remedy to their strike action is for the Federal Government to accede to the demands of ASUU which the government willingly entered into with them and properly fund education.
”Because of the fact that they had to drag ASUU to court, this is a signal that this government cannot handle crisis. And, we want to state categorically that the court cannot force members of ASUU back to lecture theatres.
”And, as it stands today, with that court judgment, we maintain that the court has not resolved the problem and we reject the judgment in strong terms. The court could have said that the Federal Government should go and pay rather than say that lecturers who are on strike should go back to classrooms. We were expecting the court to have understood that lecturers are on contract of personal service hence, they cannot be compelled to render a service they don’t want to render.