OAU, ABU students’ unions, coalition back NLC protest

The nationwide protest declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress has been met with wide acceptance from students, workers and right groups.

The NLC has slated the protest for Tuesday, July 26 and Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities that has been on strike since February 14, 2022 over what it called the alleged failure of the Federal Government to honour the agreement it had with the union.

A student group that had been organising students across the country for protest against the prolonged strike, the Fund Education Coalition, on Monday, declared support for the NLC protest, saying that students had been cheated for too long in their quest for better education.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of FEC, Joseph Aliu, read in part, “It is no longer news that the Nigerian students who are children of the working class citizens have been cheated for too long by the ruling and oppressing class by permitting series of incessant ASUU strikes and pocket tearing school fees which have not only marred the bright future of many Nigerian students, but also resulted in the increase in school dropouts and half-baked graduates.

“FEC is charging well meaning Nigerian students to not give up at this time. Here’s a time to roll our sleeves, dust our boots, march and relocate to the barricades.

“Our future lies in our hands. Nobody shall save us from this sinking educational ship if we don’t save ourselves.

“Nigerian students should be aware that education is a right for everyone of them and they cannot at this time be bamboozled by the shameful display of clamp down by the government through the men-in-black to students who are merely demanding for a better education.”

It called on students to across the country to join the nationwide protest of the NLC.

“Nigeria students should get set to fight this educational oppression to a logical conclusion.

On this, FEC is charging and calling on its members in all states and the generality of aggrieved Nigerian students to join the civil mass action initiated by the NLC, slated for July 26 and 27, 2022.

“Here is a fight to finish,” the statement concluded.

Similarly, the Students’ Union of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, have also backed the protest, calling on their members across the country to join the action.

In statement released at weekend by the OAU Student’s Union, signed by its President, Secretary-General, and Public Relations Officer, Olayiwola Festus and Odewale Damilare and Ogunperi Taofeek, respectively, the union noted that given the about six months strike, it was imperative for students to participate in the NLC protest in order to drive home their demands for reopening of schools.

“Great Ife students are encouraged to participate in the protest in the respective places that they are in the country. The protest is converging at every State Secretariat of the NLC and the Labour House, Abuja. The protest holds on Tuesday, 26 July 2022, and Wednesday, 27 July 2022.

There is no doubt that, with mass participation, this protest is going to greatly help us in getting the government to do the needful after failing to even honour the recommendations of the Nimi-Briggs Committee which it set up by itself. Let us put in our best and join hands with the NLC for the betterment of education sector and for us all to return to classes as soon as possible.

On its part, the Students’ Representative Council of ABU, Zaria, also asked the students of the institution to join the NLC action at their various locations.

A statement obatined by our correspondent, dated July 23, signed by the Secretary-General, ABU SRC, Comr, Allyu Abdulbacil Bako, partly read, “Following the publication of the National Executive Council of the NLC, dated July 15, 2022. The leadership of the ABU SRC is using this avenue to call for immediate mobilisation of our students to partake in the mission of the NLC.

“The leadership is urging our fellow students to partake peacefully in the rally and be good ambassadors of the institution. Please accept our solidarity and highest regards.”

Since the declaration of the nationwide protest by the NLC, Buhari had since directed the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu to resolve the ongoing ASUU strike as soon as possible, specifically in two weeks with effect from July 19, when he held the meeting with relevant government agencies.

The FG had also made moves to discourage the planned protest by the NLC, with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, stating that the protest was not necessary, adding that the FG only had issues with ASUU and not the NLC.

Meanwhile, the leadership of ASUU at the states and national levels have remained undaunted in their resolve while hands are still crossed as to what will transpire towards and after the NLC protest.

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