National Association of University Students (NAUS)
Before delving into the Crux of this press text; which is basically to update the general public, most especially the students’ populace the takeaway of today’s protest which commenced from Unity Fountain in Abuja to the Federal Ministry of Education in demanding for serious and decisive action to be taken on safe re-opening of schools nationwide by the Federal Government.
Foremost, I commend the resilience and commitment of all Students’ Union Presidents and the entire Nigerian students for mobilising massively towards the historic walk that was embarked upon today by the association despite the threat of fire and brimstone by the Department of State Security.
It is on record that the Department of State Security had earlier threatened to gun down Nigerian students should any protest held today towards showing dissatisfaction towards continuous closure of schools with no end in sight. History, they say is an albatross; you cannot force it to move, but, when it moves, it moves with purpose.
“Anybody who closes a school for any reason whatsoever is an enemy of the state”- Tai Solarin
This statement is not only true but profound. As an association, we believe that we would not have been here agitating for reopening of schools if not for years of governmental failure to massively invest in the educational sector. Clearly, the failure of the government to invest in education contributes significantly as to why Nigerian students are home while their schools remain closed with no hope as to when schools would be reopened. The fact that our schools have been closed for close to 5 months with the government not taking any step towards ensuring that academic activities commences is a pointer to the fact that Nigeria as a country is in serious crisis.
Indeed, there is wisdom in the saying of Martin Luther King Jnr. that “freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Today, the national leadership of the association was summoned into a meeting during the heat of the protest that held from Unity Fountain to the Federal Ministry of Education. The meeting had in attendance several Directors including a representative of the Minister of Education where we pushed some pro-students demands which include but not limited to;
Safe reopening of schools.
Provision of palliative for Nigerian students ahead of resumption.
Provision of facemasks and all other safety kits needed to curb the spread of covid-19.
Rehabilitation of health centres across tertiary institutions in the country.
An interface between the Federal Ministry of Education and NURTW towards ensuring that there is no unreasonable astronomical increase in transport fares as students prepare to travel back to their institutions.
Proper funding of the educational sector.
However, the representative of the Minister of Education promised to relay our demands to the Minister and he also spoke on behalf of the Minister that a meeting would be convened next week to discuss reopening of schools and that a press text shall be issued to that effect to announce date for school reopening as soon as the meeting is concluded. Conclusively, the students’ community were told to disregard the news flying round social media that schools resumes on the 7th of September, 2020.
Indeed, freedom cometh by struggle. We wish all Union Presidents and students a safe journey to their destinations.
Brought to you by: Comr. Nweze Victor C(Vickson)