The National Association of Nigerian Students has declared members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as common enemies of Nigerian students for extending the warning strike by two months despite appeals from students and other stakeholders in the country.
The student’s body has, however, given both the Federal Government and ASUU two weeks ultimatum, from 15th March to 28th March 2022 to end the strike or face unprecedented anger of students.
The students equally passed a vote of no confidence on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu to continue to lead the government negotiation team.
These were some of the resolutions at the expanded National Executive Council (NEC) of NANS held on 15th March, 20222, as contained in a communique signed by the National President of NANS, Comrade Sunday Asefon, and Secretary-General, Comrade Adekitan Lukman and made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
ASUU had on Monday extended its one-month warning strike by two months over the failure of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the Union.
But NANS has vowed that all major roads across the country would be blocked by students in mass street protest on the expiration of the ultimatum if the strike is not called off for students to resume classes.
The students, therefore, called for the immediate intervention of traditional rulers, religious institutions and former NANS leaders who are currently occupying one position or the other government at all levels to prevail on the Federal Government and ASUU to reopen the universities.
The communique read in part: “The expanded meeting was well attended by leaders of our various structures across the country. The meeting expressed great disappointment in the Federal Government and ASUU for their lack of empathy to the cause of Nigerian students who are the major victim of this unnecessary show of strength.
“NANS passes vote of no confidence on the Minister of Labour and Productivity and his counterpart in the Ministry of Education to continue to lead government negotiation team. They are either incompetent to engage productively with ASUU at the highest level or they lack the goodwill and trust to build consensus and find amicable resolution.
“We call for the immediate intervention of traditional institutions and religious institutions to prevail on the Federal Government and ASUU to reopen our universities while they continue their negotiation. We believe that every sector of the nation shall be adversely affected by our actions if this strike is not called off.
“Also the underlisted past NANS leaders currently occupying political positions across the country are by this publication called upon to intervene, lobby and advise Federal Government and ASUU appropriately on what to expect if this strike is not called off:
“His Excellency, Philip Shaibu, The Deputy Governor of Edo State; Sen. Barau Jibrin, Senator Representing Kano North Senatorial District; Sen Smart Adeyemi, Senator Representing Kogi West senatorial District; Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District; Senator Isahaku Abbo, Senator Representing Adamawa North Senatorial District.
“Hon Onofiok Luke. Member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency; Hon. Chinedu Obidigwe, Member Representing Anambra East/ West Federal Constituency; Hon. Lorwase Herman Hembe. Member Representing Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency of Benue State; Hon. Uju Kingsley, Member Representing Oguta/Ohaji-Egbema/ Oru West Federal Constituency; Hon. Kolade Akinjo Victor Member Representing Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency and Comr. Daniel Onjeh, Chairman Governing Board of Project Development Institute (PRODA).
“We are appalled by the continued insincerity on the part of the leadership of ASUU in meeting our national leadership to hear directly from them as our fathers on the real area of contention.
“We have met with Federal Government representatives and have heard directly from them, but all efforts to meet ASUU leadership is being consciously frustrated by ASUU leadership.
“We are also aware that revitalisation of our universities is not the main issue of contention between ASUU and Federal Government but issue concerning payment platform and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
“We have tried our possible best not to direct our rage towards ASUU but Federal Government. However, ASUU is leaving us with no option than to enlist them on the list of our enemies, and we will serve ASUU on the same plate with Federal Government.
“Since they won’t talk to us as their closest children in this struggle, we will assume they don’t have our interest at heart and we will treat them as our enemy as well.
“If we are part of the beneficiary of your fight, you will not have problem explaining to us why our gain will be bigger than our loss if the fight continues.
“We, therefore, advised Federal Government and ASUU in their best interests to reach a compromise between now and Monday, March 28, 2022, or risk our unprecedented fury.
“We hope the time between now and on 28th will afford our influential past leaders the window of opportunity to lobby their friends in government to see the danger our collective rage will cause the nation.
“The National Assembly should also do everything possible within this time to end the strike. Since they rejected the bill prohibiting public officers from sending their wards to institutions abroad, they have the mandate to make our public institutions work and now that they are failing in that responsibility, the public will respond appropriately.
“Should the strike continue after our ultimatum, students across the country will resume to the new University created by the Federal Government and ASUU called The University of the Street, with Main Campus on the Airport Road, Annex Campuses in all the Major Roads in Abuja and Distance Learning Centres in all the Federal Roads across the 36 State of the Federation.
“I, therefore, direct students to bring their mattresses and cooking utensils while resuming in their new campus in Abuja and all the designated campuses across the country. There won’t be any going back,” it said
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