The National Association of Nigerian Students has expressed support for the on-going strike action by the Academic Union of Universities and demands waiver on school fees in tertiary institutions for one academic session.
The students said this in a communique issued by the NANS Zone D (South West) and a copy of which was made available to our correspondent on Wednesday.
The NANS in the communique which was released by the Chairman, NANS Joint Campus Committee, Oyo State Axis, Mayowa Opakunle stated that no tertiary institutions could meet the requirements for them to be reopened because of poor funding.
The communique was also signed by his colleagues from Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun and Ondo states.
They are: Adelaja Busari ( Lagos); Agbogunleri Seun Michael (Osun); Akinteye Babatunde Azeez ( Ondo); RAJI Sobu; Bamgbose Tomiwa Peter ( Ogun) and the NANS Public Relations Officer in the zone. Israel Kazeem.
The NANS said no public higher institution could meet the guidelines on COVID-19 for school resumption and they blamed this on lack of adequate funding of the sector, saying if the government had been doing what is expected of them, the situation would have been different.
The students said they were tired of staying at home, while calling on government to pay attention to the sector so that the future of millions of youths affected would not be destroyed due to insensitivity of the leaders.
The NANS demanded resumption of academic activities in all tertiary institutions in the country without further delay. The students asked the Federal Government to liaise with the unions in the institutions and demanded that the National Universities Commission, National Board For Technical Education and others to streamline academic session to make up for the wasted time.
The communique read in part, “Government must provide waiver for all Nigerian students (tertiary, secondary and primary) in form of scholarship for a session or slash the fees payable by 60/70 per cent. This would help to cushion the effects of the lockdown on parents that lost their jobs and means of livelihood and businesses. It would also serve as palliative for students whose parents/guardians means of livelihood have been cut-short as a result of the lockdown.
” TETFUND should consider funding of selected students across all tertiary institutions in the country with innovative ideas just the way lecturers are being sponsored for conferences/symposia.
“We give the Federal Government seven days ultimatum to meet our demands. Anything in the contrary, we shall not hesitate to mobilise students for a massive action throughout the South-West states.”
The students said the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities were genuine adding that government should prioritise education and reposition the sector, saying Nigerian students were tired of staying idle at home. The students expressed support for the lecturers’ demands.
They said parts of what the lecturers were fighting for include lack of public address systems in lecture halls despite the huge population of students; poorly equipped laboratories and libraries and many others.
The NANS communique read, “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. We state categorically that our thoughts are aligned with the demands of ASUU.
“It must be stated that a government that allocates ridiculous percentage of the annual budget into the educational sector owes the Nigerian masses an explanation on why the sector has been left in shambles while the government is consistently spending massively on irrelevant things.”
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