National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has expressed strong displeasure over the prolonged ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), saying it members are already tired of the situation.
National President of the association and a student of University of Nigeria (UNN), Enugu Campus, Mr Chidi Ilogebe, gave this position in an exclusive interview with Tribune Online on Monday.
He said the eight-month-old strike was unnecessarily prolonged for too long and therefore both the Federal Government and ASUU must, without further delay, shield their swords and resolve their grey areas for normalcy to return to campuses.
He said the association studied carefully all the contentious issues causing the crisis and the various meetings held so far between both parties to resolve them and found out that the only issue which was still causing stalemate between both parties is that of the salary payment system.
He said the issue was more of personal (and not national) interest to both the government and the striking lecturers and therefore both parties should not because of that continue to hold students to ransom.
He said NANS had already given both parties two-week ultimatum starting from November 11 to resolve their differences so that they would go back to class.
“And if both of them continue to insist on their different position by November 25 when our ultimatum will last, NANS would embark on nationwide protest and at the same time drag both the Federal Government and ASUU to a court of competent jurisdiction,” he noted.
While adding that NANS has also planned to table the matter before religious leaders in the country for intervention, he said the strike had really taken a huge toll on them as students.
According to him, it is up to eight months that students have been at home doing virtually nothing except only eating without being economically engaged and if care is not taken “we will waste a whole year just like that”.
He said that the experience alone is not only psychologically traumatic for many of them but also anti-prosperity for Nigeria as a country.
The NANS leader said many of them in rented accommodation are already indebted hugely to their landlords even without using the facilities and that some of them would also not be able to participate again in the mandatory one-year national youth service corps programme just because they would have been more than the 30 years age eligibility benchmark at the time of graduation.
“So, the effect of this strike on us as students is un-quantifiable and that is why we are appealing again to both the federal government and ASUU to take a favourable position and let our campuses reopen for activities,” he said.