Sunday Asefon, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), says the union is prepared to hit the streets to protest the strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
Asefon made the comment while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
According to Asefon, the government appears not to be interested in ending the strike as its focus has shifted to the elections in 2023.
“We are talking about education, we are talking about life,” he said.
“Our life is no longer being discussed by the leaders, these leaders that we elected; but rather, their focus now is about election. This election that we are talking about is because of their parochial and selfish interest.
“We are battle ready, the highest they can do is to shoot us. If they shoot, they will ask their police to shoot us, if we die, the generation coming will know we died because of fighting for them. They would also know that they shot us because they are preparing for election. But we need to take action.”
Asefon added that the government should stop playing politics with the ASUU issue.
“If you have an opportunity to meet the ASUU and federal government, federal government will tell you they inherited the problem from PDP, the ASUU will tell you this negotiation has been on since when Jonathan was there but what we believe as students is that government is continuous; they should be able to fine tune and find a solution to this matter,” he said.
“We should not be at the receiving end every time and as such, they should stop using us to play politics.”
ASUU had on Monday, February 14, 2022, announced a four-week total and comprehensive warning strike following the inability of the union and the Nigerian government to reach a common ground on the demands of university lecturers.
Some of ASUU’s demands include the release of revitalization funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the UTAS payment platform for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.
Following the expiration of the initial four weeks of the warning strike, the union had gone ahead to declare another eight weeks saying that it was giving the government more time to attend to its needs.