Student Union leaders across the South West have threatened to employ every legal means to confront the Federal Government on the issue of the strike action currently embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This was made known at a press conference organised by the South West division of the Universities Students’ Union Presidents.
The conference, which held at the University of Ibadan Students’ Union Building (SUB) on Thursday 12th November, had in attendance students from various universities all over the geopolitical zone, as well as Pressmen from different media houses.
While giving his speech, the president of the University of Ilorin Students’ Union, Comrade Wisdom Oluwaseun Okoko emphasised that it was necessary to hold the conference in order to bring to public notice, the grievances of students, who have spent almost eight months outside their classrooms. “We cannot continue to keep quiet and watch”, he emphasised.
In his own speech, the leader of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union, Akeju Olusegun, expressed sadness over the current state of the country’s education sector. In his statement, he said, “The issue of ASUU Strike is killing us as Nigerian students”. He also mentioned that instead of teaching students, the system is rather punishing them.
According to a release signed by the student leaders, they requested for an immediate resolution between the two parties who are presently at loggerheads.
“We, the great students of the federation, hereby request for an end to the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. The struggle of ASUU should never be undermined as we all truly know, a revitalisation and improvement in the quality of infrastructure and regulation of payment of salaries is direly needed.
In spite of this, we urgently call for a compromise to be reached by both parties. The future of students is at stake. Some have lost faith in the education in this country and it is a great slap on the face of the nation. Not every parent or guardian can afford to send their children to Private Universities. Even some Missionary Universities that should offer respite are so expensive that some of their members can’t afford the tuition. Believe us when we say that a lot is at stake here. An Igbo adage says, ‘Does a person whose house is currently burning chase rats around the house?’. This rat hunt has been on for too long and ENOUGH is ENOUGH”.
The leaders ended the demands in their release by words of threat, which read, “In lieu of the above, we hereby give the federal government the ultimatum of seven (7) days to resolve the crisis and get us back to school, else, there would be an aggressive nationwide agitation thereafter”.
When asked whether the proposed protest would not lead to violence, as observed during the recent nationwide #EndSARS protests, one of the leaders promised that it would be well planned and properly coordinated so that hoodlums do not take advantage of it to initiate civic unrest in the nation.