The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has directed all its structures and organs to block all federal roads in protest against the continued shutdown of public universities in the country.
Against the backdrop of the extension of the warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), NANS asked the students to ensure the roads are blocked daily for at least three hours until the Federal Government resolves its impasse with the aggrieved lecturers.
NANS National Public Relations Officer, Victor Ezenagu, declared the mass action tagged ‘Operation Test Run’ on Tuesday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“We are poised at ensuring that our campuses are reopened and as such, the instruction has gone out to all the 36 states and the FCT calling on all our structures to begin (the mass action) immediately, starting from today, by barricading and blocking every federal road, every road leading to the airports, and ensuring they remain on the street for at least three hours every day until the Federal Government does something as regards to settling their impasse with ASUU for us to return to our campuses,” he said during the breakfast programme.
Academic activities have been grounded in public universities across the country following a warning strike by ASUU in February.
Some of the issues that led to the industrial action include renegotiations of the 2009 agreement, payment system for members, and revitalisation of the nation’s universities, among others.
Following several negotiations between the government and ASUU that ended in a deadlock, the union on Monday extended the strike by another 12 weeks.
This further worsens the plight of students whose hopes of returning to the classroom have been dashed again, despite staying away from campus for almost three months.
NANS, in its reaction, said ‘Operation Test Run’ would be a precursor to a total shutdown that would be decided during its Senate meeting/pre-convention on Saturday, May 14.
While the ASUU strike persists, according to the union, students will continue to occupy roads leading to airports and might be forced to disrupt political activities, including parties’ primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections.
“There shall be no primaries, there shall be no political activities if our future is not resolved, if our future is not decided well, if the issue concerning the Nigerian students is not resolved, because we cannot be talking about next elections, we should be talking about next generation,” Ezenagu stated.
“If we are only concerned about elections, then what happens to the next generation? Education is the only thing that can ensure and ascertain the existence of Nigeria and make Nigeria a better place. We cannot sit back and watch our fathers who are almost in their dying age toy with our future; we will not allow that.
“There shall be no primaries, there shall be no political activities in Nigeria except the ASUU strike is resolved. We are not deterred, we are formidable; we are coming to shock Nigerians, we are coming to shock the government, we are coming to shock everybody.”(Channels TV)
•PHOTO: Victor Ezenagu and protesting students