NANS threatens to boycott, disrupt polls over ASUU strike.
The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) has threatened to boycott and disrupt the 2019 general elections if the Federal Government fails to reach an understanding with striking university teachers to enable them to call off the strike.
It lamented that the government had failed to reach a compromise with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) to end the stalemate.
NANS President, Denielson Bamidele Apkan, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said after careful observation of the prolonged closure of tertiary institutions, which he described as insensitive, it decided to declare Operation No Resumption, No Elections.
He stressed that Nigerian students would resist the conduct of the polls in any part of the country should tertiary institutions remain shut until the election date.
He alleged that the continuous strikes by ASUU and ASUP were a deliberate ploy to disenfranchise students, who registered within their school environments and are presently at home.
“We are conscious layers of the nation and on no account shall we allow disenfranchisement of the largest voting population in a major election to pass due to no fault of ours.
“We have 22.3 million registered students, eligible to change the nation’s destiny. We refuse to be sacrificed and denied the right to exercise our civic responsibility to our nation at this crucial moment.
“On November 4, 2018, ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike, which grounded all academic activities on our campuses. Prior to that, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) had embarked on industrial action, shutting down all Colleges of Education,” he stated.
Akpan noted that NANS had requested and forced the Ministry of Education, NCCE, and COEASU to a negotiation table, while it observed the deliberations for a quick resolution, adding that compromise was reached and the strike called-off without unnecessary delay of resumption of academic activities.
“However, after few days COEASU suspended their strike, ASUU and ASUP began their strike, making millions of our members to remain at home with the possible consequence of disenfranchisement in the general elections beginning from February 16, 2019.
“In solidarity, Nigerian students embarked on a nationwide protest across the 36 states of the federation with a mother rally in Abuja on November 19, 2018. The Save Education Rally was to create awareness on the state of education in the country, after which we presented our demands to the Federal Government, the press and general public,” he said.
He further stated that in furtherance of the November 19 protest, NANS issued a two weeks ultimatum to government and ASUU to call off the strike or face the wrath of Nigerian students, which led to a meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU.
The President also directed the release of funds through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for infrastructure development of the country’s tertiary institutions across the board.
“But sadly, it appears that the gains recorded in the last few weeks have been eroded by the continued strike barely 12 days to the general elections,” he lamented.