The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), said on Wednesday it would consider legal action against the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) if it failed to call off its strike.
President of NANS, Yinka Gbadebo, told a news conference jointly addressed by the association and the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) in Abuja that the association would also consider staging a demonstration.
Mr. Gbadebo said, “We have considered options; we have considered the option of taking them to court; we have considered the option of leading a protest against ASUU.
“But to the uninformed Nigerians, who are in the majority today, who are not aware of the issues causing the problems between the Federal Government and ASUU, we know that if we take ASUU to the court now or if we lead a protest against ASUU now, it may be suicidal because the public has not been well informed about all this.
“And that is why we are planning to embark on a sensitisation tour of Nigeria, to inform our students who will distribute these document across Nigeria in the next one week.“
Mr. Gbadebo said the protracted ASUU strike had become a thing of concern to Nigerian students and there was an urgent need to look into the contending issues between the Federal Government and the union.
According to him, NANS members have met with the Federal Government and the document containing the demands and agreements reached with ASUU has been made available to them.
He, however, said efforts by NANS to meet with the leadership of ASUU to verify the authenticity or otherwise of the document had been unsuccessful as the union had declined to meet with the students’ body.
The NANS president alleged that the document obtained from the government indicated that ASUU’s primary demands were in its own interest and not that of Nigerian students as most of the demands that concerned students had already been met by government.
He said the Nigerian public should make efforts to get facts and not to judge based on sentiments being whipped by ASUU and which had continued to jeopardise the future of Nigeria.
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his efforts at resolving the crisis.
The NANS president said, “Furthermore, in fairness to President Goodluck Jonathan, we think and we know and we can ascertain the fact that this is the first time in the history of this country that the Federal Government will be making available a whooping sum of N100 billion at a go for the provision of infrastructure in our public universities.”
Mr. Gbadebo further urged students to be on the alert and to monitor how funds allocated to their various institutions would be applied by the university authorities.
On the call for a legislation to ban strikes by ASUU, Mr. Gbadebo stated that NANS was not taking sides in the dispute.
He said that it would not support an attempt to ban strikes as there could be times the association might have valid reasons to go on strike.
Also speaking, the President of NYCN, Olawale Ajani, said Nigerian youth were taking their destinies in their hands by joining NANS in the struggle to ensure that the education system did not collapse.
He said the Federal Government should do all in its powers to ensure that students were not left to laze around.
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