The South-West zone of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has justified and declared support for the on-going strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Amidst calls for the resumption of academic activities in the nation’s public universities which were closed down as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, ASUU has declared that its members won’t resume until government meets its demands.
NANS in a joint statement signed by the Chairmen of the association in the six states of the zone: Opakunle Oluwafunmibi, Busari Adelaja, Agbogunleri Seun, Raji Sobur, Bamgbose Tomiwa, and Akinteye Babatunde said the demands by ASUU were legitimate.
The student leaders said the government must address the issues of lack of public address systems, interactive boards, epileptic Internet facilities, outdated library resources, outdated laboratories, over-crowded hostels affecting most public universities.
Coupled with the ASUU demands for better remuneration and infrastructural facilities, NANS declared that government needs to invest more in the educational sector.
They added that the government must respond to all the demands plus put facilities for safe reopening in place before students can resume.
The statement read in parts, “Students across the country must know that the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is justifiable and we need a proper integration to foster a successful outcome.
“As an association, we wish to establish our position as following with close marking, the demands of ASUU as the union is one part of our academic world and, an injury to one, they say, is an injury to all. Hence, standing on the principle of solidarity, we state categorically that our thoughts are aligned with the demands of ASUU.
“It needs to be stated that a government that allocates a ridiculous percentage of the annual budget into the educational sector owes the Nigerian masses an explanation as to why the sector has been left in shambles while the government is consistently spending massively on irrelevancies.
“The way-forward remains for our government to invest massively in our educational system and restructure our science departments from theories to research-oriented departments.
“With proper analysis as to what has brought about the ASUU strike that might seem ceaseless in years past, we are not unfamiliar with several disgraceful learning environments and learning facilities across our institutions.
“It is on record that over 80 per cent of our higher institutions does not have Public Address Systems, Interactive Boards, etc. while many are battling with epileptic or non-existing Internet Services, a library of no or less automation, outdated library resources have been the active facilities that our tertiary institutions pride themselves of.
“How will such institutions take steps into holding online classes which the Federal Government has ingloriously directed management of higher institutions of learning across the country to commence?
“Advanced countries of the world are drafting students in the medical laboratory and pharmaceutical-related fields in research efforts at finding the cause of this deadly virus and the vaccine for its treatment and cure. The reason such is not being done here in Nigeria cannot be far-fetched because, we are a country with depleted libraries, outdated laboratories, over-crowded insanitary hostels with plummeting academic standards that have reduced our tertiary institutions to inglorious secondary schools churning out medical graduates with little or no laboratory experience.
“We are concerned that students should not just be made to sit at home doing nothing. And, we must state categorically that the conditions we are here to table to government at all levels are not beyond what the government can meet considering the resources at our disposal as a country. The fact that the government is not talking about these things is just a clear case of irresponsibility and unpreparedness on the part of our ruling class which we frown at.
“Without mincing words, education is the bedrock of any civilization, it is therefore disheartening that our governments are showing a lack of resolve to make our schools resume.
“Furthermore, it is important to call the attention of the Nigerian government to the fact that most countries of the world have tactically resolved the issue of learning during the pandemic by putting certain measures in place. The Nigerian government must also emulate their counterparts and with immediate effect, make necessary provisions to ensure the resumption of academic activities in our educational institutions.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday declared that only members of ASUU that have been registered on the IPPIS platform will be paid their salaries.
He noted this during the presentation of the 2021 national budget estimates before a joint sitting of National Assembly members on Thursday.
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