Aggrieved students of Nigerian tertiary institutions on Wednesday, shut down the streets of Abuja in protest, demanding the immediate reopening of tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
The students under the umbrella of the National Association of University Students (NAUS), National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), and National Association of Nigerian Colleges of Education (NANCES), registered their discontent with the continued closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The protest which started from the Unity Fountain, Maitama, terminated at the Ministry of Education headquarters at the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja.
The Senate President, National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), Comrade Dio Oghale Emeka Rex, said with the re-opening of markets, worship centres and international flights, there was no basis for the continued closure of tertiary institutions.
He said: “The Federal Government is just playing with the future Nigerian students. The cure of Coronavirus is neither in any political party, nor institutions. The pandemic has not taking the life of students that the lockdown has taken.
“Many students have been victimised sexually and many of them have been murdered. Assuming they are in their various institutions, by now most of them would have graduated. Many political parties conducted their primary elections and rallies without regard for social distancing and wearing of facemask.
“The age limit for National Service is 30 years and most of us are 29. If it continue like this, at the end of the day we will not be mobilised for NYSC.”
On his part, a Former Zone A Coordinator, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Umar Farouk, urged the Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19 to immediately order the reopening of the tertiary institutions.
He said: “The international flights that are about to open should be shut down, the markets should also be closed and all economy shut down. Coronavirus is not an excuse for our campuses to be closed, our campuses must be opened.
“If Edo state can go for rallies and also conduct an election, PTF should order the reopening of our campuses, they cannot continue to be in lockdown.”
Also speaking, National President, National Association of University Students (NAUS), Ije Felix, said the cure of the Coronavirus can only come from researches which are only conducted in the universities.
“It’s fundermental to note that the cure of the virus can only come through research, research are not done anywhere except the campuses, research are not done at home or in the market. If the government is serious with this pandemic, so that professors can begin to conduct researches.
“Nobody gave us money to come and protest in Abuja, we came here to tell Nigerians how we feel, we came to exercise our fundermental human rights. We are also here to tell the Nigerian government that we are tired of staying at home.”