Sunday Asefon, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), said on Thursday that the union was ready to take to the streets to protest the continued strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike.
Mr Asefon made the remark on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
According to Mr. Asefon, the government appears uninterested in resolving the strike as attention turns to the 2023 elections.
“We are talking about education, we are talking about life. Our life is no longer being discussed by the leaders, these leaders that we elected; but rather, their focus now is about the 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 noted.
Mr. Asefon suggested that the government refrain from politicising the ASUU issue.
“If you have an opportunity to meet the ASUU and federal government, the 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.
“We should not be at the receiving end every time and as such, they should stop using us to play politics,” the NANS President stated.
On February 14, ASUU began a four-week warning strike.
The union prolonged the strike for another two months on March 14 to allow the government to meet all of its requests.
Academics are demanding better working conditions, the revitalization of public universities, and academic autonomy, among other things.
The non-payment of university revitalisation monies, which total roughly N1.1 trillion, is a source of frustration for academics.
However, the Federal Government has stated that it does not have the funds to pay such a sum, blaming low oil prices during President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.