From Fred Ezeh, Abuja and Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
the The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) yesterday disrupted the activities of the National Assembly and Federal Ministry of Education Compound, Abuja as they staged a peaceful protest to register their displeasure at the periodic industrial action by university professors under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the failure of the federal government to meet their demands.
Hundreds of aggrieved students marched through the streets of Abuja with placards, chanting solidarity songs and blocking the doors of the two buildings for several hours.
Carrying mattresses, cooking gas and other utensils, the students threatened to occupy the NASS compound and the Federal Department of Education until they are assured that concrete measures have been put in place by the government to end the teachers’ strike.
The students called on the federal government to honor the agreements it had freely entered into with ASUU and to renegotiate areas that needed to be renegotiated. They also instructed ASUU to be open-minded, progressive and realistic in its terms.
NANS President Sunday Asefon, who led the protest, denounced the situation in which ASUU had gone on strike for more than four years since 1999.
He urged the government to persuade ASUU to call off the strike and return to classrooms to ensure the continuity of the school calendar. He also charged the government to consider urgent investments in the revitalization of public higher education institutions to meet the country’s growing population and its emerging needs.
The students said that if their positions were not implemented immediately, they would continue to protest every week, and even choosing a more strategic location that would have a significant impact on the economy.
“We demand that Nigerian students who are victims of the ASUU relentless strike be represented in all negotiations between the Federal Government and ASUU, and both parties must prove that their children have attended or are attending a public university in Nigeria” , did he declare.
In Ibadan, Oyo State, NANS issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the Federal Government and ASUU to end the ongoing national industrial action, otherwise it shut down the country by barricading all federal highways.
The students, who said this during a peaceful protest in Ibadan, advised the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve their dispute and safeguard the future of Nigerian students.
The protest, which started at the Press Center of the Union of Nigeria Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, Iyaganku, Ibadan, was led by NANS South West Coordinator, Fiyinfoluwa Tegbe.
The protesters, who carried signs with various inscriptions, specifically accused university professors of being responsible for the federal government’s treatment of them, alleging that some ASUU members facilitated the rigging of election results. for politicians and had lost respect for politics. leadership.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards posted at the protest read: “FG and ASUU, stop the madness”, “Stop the strike and revitalize our education”, “After the strike ends, only the students lose”, “FG should learn to respect the agreement”, “Age is irreversible, the rents of the houses are not reimbursable, stop disturbing our life plans.
Saïd Tegbe: “We ask the federal government to learn to respect the agreement. We have seen time and time again that the Feds and ASUU have come to an agreement, but the Feds have not kept their promise.
“Again, ASUU members should have ways to deal with issues, rather than going on strike all the time because they waste our time. We call on the federal government and ASUU to resolve this crisis and allow us to resume our classes. »
• Kano and Plateau students call for dialogue
Similarly, students at some higher education institutions establishments in Kano State staged a peaceful protest. The students carried placards with different inscriptions and marched through certain areas of the Kano metropolis.
Student leader Yazid Tanko said the ASUU strike “always causes a setback to their education. We are natives of Kano State and schooling in Kano State. This is why we went to the Ministry of Higher Education to express our grievances, so that they will take our message to the federal government.
In Jos, Plateau State, Na’allah Nanzim, Public Relations Officer (PRO), NANS Zone C, said education is a right and constant strikes are gradually killing the education system. We want the government to know that we are essential players in the education sector and that these strikes really affect our academic progress. When ASUU and the government have problems, it is the students who suffer and this protest aims to show how unhappy we are with the strikes.
Nanzim said the students would continue to hold such protests until ASUU and the government reach a reasonable agreement.