The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has denied receiving N150million from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Executive Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) visited President Muhammadu Buhari on January 3, 2019 and the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was one of the issues that came up during the visit.
Buhari had told NANS that his government was "working hard towards a resolution, and will continue to ask for ASUU’s understanding".
However, reports had emerged that the association allegedly collected the said amount during the visit.
A statement made available to NAN on Saturday and signed by Adeyemi Amoo, its National Public Relations Officer (PRO), urged Nigerian students to ignore the allegations by ASUU.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported and sponsored allegation, that NANS had been bribed by President Muhammadu Buhari with a whooping sum of N150million to protest against ASUU.
“We commend the well meaning, intellectual and genuine civil society groups for not falling cheap for this blackmail, as we’ve gotten informed and reliably that they’ve also been lobbied by ASUU to join them in pushing such blackmail. We are not surprised that this blackmail isn’t flying beyond the pseudo groups they’ve been able to arrange and mobilise with cash.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a known person in character and style to virtually all Nigerians. Even the opposition knows that Buhari will never give out such amount of money for any reason(s) that is not of national benefits or developments. No doubt this propaganda might have seen the acceptance of the masses if it wasn’t targeted towards Buhari himself.”
According to Amoo, NANS had earlier declared November 17, 2018 as a nationwide day of mass action tagged: 'Save Education Rally' held simultaneously across the states of the federation, to protest the incessant strikes across universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. He added that in October 2018, NANS national leadership met with the Minister for Education, to fine-tune ways of putting a long term end to the regular carnival of strikes in the educational sector.
The statement continued: “We thereby demanded as the major stakeholders in the sectors, to always have representatives at the meeting of ASUU with Federal Government, as this was targeted towards adding to the strength and voice of ASUU, so as to make government yield to their demands in time. The Federal Government on her own side sees the request of being an observer at the negotiation table with ASUU as a welcome development.
“NANS was invited twice to the meeting of Federal Government with ASUU, ably represented by the NANS national president, Danielson Akpan, but was walked out twice by the ASUU leadership, insisting that such negotiations must not be done in the presence of younger ones.
“NANS leadership begins to wonder what reasons might be behind the blind insistence of ASUU that NANS must not observe the meeting, when the Federal Government has wholeheartedly approved our attendance at such meetings.”
He added that NANS after exhausting all means, resolved to issue an ultimatum to the Nigerian Government and ASUU to return to the negotiation table. He also said NANS sought audience with the president which led to the meeting at the presidential villa on Thursday.
“At the meeting, NANS appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, resolve the ASUU strike, for him not to lose the support of over 20 million Nigerian students. This was the statement of the NANS president at the meeting, as against the cheap blackmail that NANS has assured Buhari of mobilising 20 million votes for him.
“NANS, therefore, uses this medium to inform Nigerian students and Nigerians at large, that its leadership will not, has not and will not for any reason sell the interest and integrity of our dear organisation.
“Conclusively, we want to tell ASUU that NANS is not for sale. We have not, and will not turn our struggles to sources of empowerment."