The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to shut down the whole of Nigeria, including the Presidential Villa in Abuja, if urgent steps are not taken by the Federal Government to end the ongoing strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The National Public Relations Officer of NANS, Giwa Yisa, made the disclosure on Wednesday during a protest staged by students to demand re-opening of universities in the country that have been closed since February 14, 2022 when ASUU commenced the industrial action.
The students barricaded the Ibadan tollgate axis of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and caused logjam on the highway for some hours.
According to him, “It is embarrassing that for the past seven months, Nigerian students have been denied access to education. This deliberate act insults the collective intelligence of Nigerian students, both home and in the diaspora. It shows the lackaidaisacal attitude of the ruling elites towards the plight of the Nigerian people.
“No one could have imagined that there would be a time in the history of this country when ivory towers would be under lock and key as a result of governmental crass irresponsibility. Alas! It is happening right in our time.
“But, as Nigerian students, we owe it a duty to this generation and generations unborn to bequeath to them better days so that they won’t see the present abnormalities as the norm.
“The response of the Federal Government through the Ministries of Labour and Education, which is headed by Chris Ngige and Mallam Adamu Adamu respectively, reeks of arrogance and ignorance. This has further shown that this government lacks the feeling of empathy and humanness.
“In furthering our demands, we declare that this agitation shall be sustained to the latter. We have begun a significant action and we shall sustain it till our demands are met. We pass a vote of no confidence on both Ministers of Labour and Education!
“We call for the proper funding of the educational sector as against what has been attainable in the past seven years. We call on the Buhari (President Muhammadu Buhari) government to pay all outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers. The policy of ‘No Work No Pay’ is a Fascist one. It’s therefore condemnable and not acceptable to all the millions of students in Nigeria!
“We will, by this statement, not beg again. We will be mobilizing all students to shut down the country – without excluding the Presidential Villa.”
After the protest, the students were led to the venue of the interactive session between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South West with the former Vice President and the 2023 PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the governor of Delta State, at Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
The NANS national PRO, Giwa Yisa, said Atiku has not taken any position to identify with the students since university lecturers began the strike. It it could not be confirmed if they were allowed to meet Atiku, at the programme, which was attended by stakeholders across all the six states of South West – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.