From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta and Lateef Dada, Osogbo
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other presidential aspirants to raise money in order to meet the demands of striking university lecturers.
It made the appeal in a statement by the Chairman of NANS, Ogun State Joint Campus Committee (JCC), Kehinde Damilola Simeon, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, yesterday.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on Monday announced extension of the ongoing strike. It had demanded implementation of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed between it and the Federal Government.
Some of the demands include revitalisation of public universities; earned academic allowances and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution for payment of university lecturers.
But in the statement by NANS, the appeal to the eminent Nigerians to help ASUU became imperative following failure of government to accede to the demands of the striking lecturers.
“All the presidential aspirants, especially those from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must rise up and come to the rescue of Nigerian Students.
“If truly the aspirants mean well for Nigerians as they are claiming, and if they have the love of Nigerian students at heart, they should raise the fund to meet the demands of ASUU, since the Federal Government has failed woefully in its commitment to improving the education sector.
“Today, in Nigeria, both university and polytechnic education are paralysed due to ongoing strike by both members of ASUU and ASUP. It is very unfortunate and unacceptable.
“Nigerian students hereby call on the presidential aspirants, in the spirit of patriotism and in the interest of development to rally round Nigerian students.
“All of these aspirants paid huge amounts of money to procure their nomination forms, so donating funds to rescue the tertiary education in Nigeria should not be too difficult for them.
“It is only by doing this, that Nigerian students and Nigerians in general will respect and show support for their ambitions”. The statement concluded.
Meanwhile, protesting students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, were reportedly dispersed by soldiers, yesterday. It was gathered that the soldiers numbering about five stormed the barricade of the protesting students along the Ife-Ibadan express road, and sent them away from the barricade.
Findings showed that the students took to their heels when they saw the soldiers armed with weapons.
Eruobami Ayobami, chairman, of the National Association of University Students (NAUS), said the soldiers escorting a VIP from Ibadan around 2:53pm, stopped at the Ipetumodu roundabout close to Oduduwa University and attacked the protesters. He said the soldiers forcefully dismantled the barricade.
“They also proceed to the barricade at the Moro end and also displaced the barricade there. Although, they did not shoot or beat anyone they threatened us at the barricades.
“The incident scared some of our students, who had to run from the areas while the soldiers forcefully pass through the highway,” he narrated.
The students had since last week Thursday embarked on protest, demanding the opening of their university.
They also threatened to stop elections from holding if the strike continues and the federal government refused to accede to the demand of their lecturers.