The National Association of Nigerian Students’ executive board and Hassan Soweto, national coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), have responded to the industrial court order.
Asserting that the judiciary is essentially an arm of the apparatus of the capitalist state, just like the police and the army, Mr. Soweto called the court’s decision unfair and disgraceful.
In response to the court decision, he urged the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to conduct a 48-hour nationwide warning strike.
The corrupt governing elite in Nigeria, he claimed, are busy taking the money needed to pay public education, and the Nigerian court’s job is to protect their interests.
He said; “At this stage, all we can say is that our solidarity with ASUU on its resolve to fight for adequate funding of public universities remains unshakable despite this court order.
“We urge the NLC and TUC not to allow the government use the court to frustrate the legitimate struggle of ASUU. We call on the labour movement to respond to this unfair court order by escalating action into a 48 hour warning general strike and mass protest.”
The leadership of NANS responded by stating that it will continue to mobilize its members nationally to impede free flow of transportation in important Nigerian cities unless the government complies with the demands of the striking academics.
If the schools are not reopened before September 28, when political campaigning ahead of the 2023 general elections are anticipated to start, the union warned that it would also interrupt political gatherings.
The Chairman of NANS National Taskforce on #EndASUUStrikeNow, Raymond Ojo, spoke to journalists in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, on Wednesday and claimed that the students are now more united to protect their shared interests.
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport route in Lagos was shut down by the protesting students on Monday, subjecting many travelers to what they termed as torture.
Until public universities are reopened, according to Mr. Ojo, students would unleash their wrath and dissatisfaction on the Nigerian government.
Ojo said; “NANS will continue to ground all the nation’s public assets from roads to airports, including Nigeria Ports Authority if the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment fail to resolve with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in no distant time.
“Our blocking of access to public roads and ports is just a warning. If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country.
“They will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerian Students who have been at home for the past seven months. As we promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to hold across the country until we are back to class.
“This government has pushed so many Nigerians Students into depression. We say enough is enough; we can no longer bear the brunt from this avoidable crisis in our nation’s public ivory towers again.”
Urging well meaning Nigerians to join them in their struggle to “rescue tertiary education from further collapse,” he added, “Either court rules in favour or against ASUU, the students will not relent in our resolve to disrupt government and public organisations including campaigns if our lecturers are not back to classrooms.”