Nigerian students under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Saturday threatened a showdown with the Federal Government, resolving to shut down all the international airports nationwide in continuation of its protests to end the lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The students said the steps became necessary in order to make Nigerian leaders and government feel the pains that they had subjected students to in the past seven months, decrying the attitude of the federal government towards the striking lecturers as well as education as a whole.
Converging in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Saturday, the students said the four-day shutdown of busy highways and expressways had been a success but said the move to disrupt international travels from September 19, 2022, is to make bourgeois and the government feel the pains that had subjected students to.
Speaking, the Chairman, NANS National Task Force on ‘End ASUU Strike Now,’ Ojo Raymond Olumide, disclosed that students were already tired of pleading with both parties over the need to end the strike.
Olumide said the Federal Government should prepare for another round of mother of all battles with the closure of all the international airports nationwide.
He stressed that airports will be occupied and grounded until the strike is called off, adding that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration must pay all outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers.
“We shall begin another round of protest next week by storming the airspaces on Monday, 19th September 2022 to #OccupyTheAirports. We want to let the world know about the pains and anguish students are going through.
“Nigerian students whose parents create the commonwealth cannot continue to be suffering at home alongside our lecturers while the few who gain from our sweats and blood have their kids abroad jollying and flexing.
“We call on students to rise and join us as we take our destinies into our hands. Our demands remain consistently clear and simple. We call on ASUU leadership for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss solidarity actions and plan for the next phase of the struggles.
“Nigerian students are not subjected to security agencies and we haven’t seen any step from them to avert ASUU strike. He said they could not tell them that they were not aware of what is going on.
“Being on the road for the past four days and had garnered alot of solidarity. Grounding the airport is for us to get solidarity and we will keep on grounding the local and international airports.
They know the effect of grounding the airport, the only thing we request for them is to open our campuses back. They should give enough budgetary allocation, we are not asking for 26 percent we are asking for 22 percent.
“We pass a vote of no confidence on both ministers of labour and education. We call on the Buhari government to pay all outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers. The policy of “No Work No Pay” is a fascist one; it is, therefore condemnable and nonacceptable to all the millions of students in Nigeria.
“We will, by this statement, not beg again. We shall be mobilizing all students to shut down the country. No Education! No Movement,” NANS chairman said.
Olumide condemned the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola, over his purported comment on the barricading of federal roads by the students, Olumide stated that the strike had continued to linger due to the absence of children of the political class in public universities.
“Through Nigerians, the federal and state governments became and are still uncomfortable with our protests. Instead of them responding to us responsibly, we were shocked that the Minister of Works Babatunde Fashola called out fundamental human rights ‘illegal!’
“Yet, the minister’s outburst is also another evidence that the Buhari government hates real educational development.
“They are never apologetic and are hell-bent on destroying every remnant of state welfare left. They prefer to kill the public schools instead of revamping them.
“Nigerian students are not surprised that the Buhari government does not care about public education. After all, all the politicians have their kids schooling abroad while the children of the masses that constitute 99 percent of the population are only fit to be thugs, hard workers, and sex slaves.
“We dare say that this cruelty will not continue anymore. And, it is on this note we call on the national leadership of ASUU to synergise with Nigerian students in achieving this struggle that we have commenced by ensuring that a state of emergency is declared in the educational sector