The Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neo-liberal Attacks (ANSA) has condemned the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) over its threat to commence a nationwide protest against the ongoing strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
In a statement released on Friday, the students’ group noted that the NANS threat is “anti-union/anti-poor” and the stance violates the charter upon which NANS was created.
The statement read: “It is appalling to say the least that the ideological degeneracy of the current NANS executives has been allowed to bring forth its hydra-headed [stance] once again. Lovely were the days when we had the NANS that fought SAP; introduction of tuition in 1985, the military government and the June 12 revolts among other great historical battles.
“It is no wonder even the new executives of this anti-student NANS lack the basic understanding of the fraternal relations built on ideological conviction between the Nigerian Student Movement and their working class counterparts, especially when we all know that these bodies are representatives of the oppressed layer of our society. It is students today that become workers tomorrow."
ANSA claimed that NANS’ threat is in support of the Nigerian Government’s demand to have the unions call off the strike.
On Monday, December 31, 2018, NANS had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the striking unions and the Nigerian government to sort out the underlying issues. NANS stated that none of the demands of ASUU and ASUP aimed to improve the lot of students, and wondered why Nigerian students have to suffer, while the lecturers demand their allowances.
ANSA, however, opposed this position, stating instead that the striking unions are fighting for the collective challenges in the federal universities.
The statement continued: “Let us try to point out to the Nigerian public that the struggles being waged by the striking lecturers are the struggles the Nigerian students should be leading by now. In fact we should have shut down the campuses by ourselves considering the animalistic living and learning conditions students are subjected to.
“This then brings to question the real demands of the striking lecturers, as against the trivial and highly treacherous generalization of the agitation by the executives of NANS, elements who have never called any protest on any issues bordering on students welfare; arbitrary fee increment on our campuses; attacks on students unions and activists.
“As it stands now; schools like UNILAG, YABATECH, UI, OAU, RUGIPO, UNIOSUN amongst others — schools that have a union have very pliant unions such as YABATECH, UI, UNILAG College of Medicine, UNIBEN, FUTO, UNILORIN amongst others — have increased fees and are planning to increase again. Others who like OAU who haven’t increased have announced an increment. Where are the executives of NANS in all of these vicious attacks on students and their unions?”
ANSA further stated that NANS siding with the government would inadvertently affect the students.
“In summary, the statement issued by the NANS leadership, joining government in demanding that ASUU calls off its strike without government acceding to the demands of the Union is a call for mass expulsion of students who would be confronted with the menace of outrageous fee increment.
“Let us even assume without conceding that all the Union demands is all about its wages; doesn’t even the Bible say that the labourer deserves his/her wage? And the Holy Quran went further to assert that the sweat of a labourer must not go dry without his/her wages. Why will a government continue to pay non-working and ‘certificateless’ Senators N14million as allowances and would not be able to afford 30,000 naira minimum wage and earned academic allowance for our Professors who obviously add more value to the society than our sleeping Senators?”