The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) says the federal government needs to pay attention to the pressing needs of tertiary institutions to avert recurrent strikes.
In December last year, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ended a strike that stifled academic activities for nine months.
A few weeks later, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) embarked on an indefinite strike which began on February 5.
Speaking with TheCable Lifestyle on Tuesday, Adeyeye Olugbenga, NANS’ director of special duties, addressed some of the implications of reoccurring strikes to students in the country.
He noted that too many strikes amount to security implications because youth that should be in school are idle.
Olugbenga also cited the series of mass protests against police brutality last October as an instance.
“There is no right-thinking human being that will be comfortable with such recurring strikes always taking the students out of school. It has a lot of security implications when people are idle and not working,” he said.
“#EndSARS is enough to tell us students are supposed to be in class, fully engaged. This is as we’re not unmindful of the fact that education requires a lot of funding so that lecturers are paid and their welfare improved.
“Equally, facilities in tertiary institutions would be upgraded. The education sector requires a lot of overhauling and this takes funding. If the government gives attention to these things, strikes will reduce to the barest minimum.”
The director also called on university staff to be considerate of the country’s economic plights while adding that an increased political will on the part of government towards the demands of the unions will end the recurring strikes.
“We’re appealing to FG and staff unions to find a common ground and resolve lingering issues so that the education sector would be running smoothly. But the most important thing is the patriotic spirit on the part of us all,” he said.
“Regardless of the associations to which we belong or their constitutional duties of such a union to their members, our interests should not be to the detriment of the continuity or progressiveness of the nation itself.
“We accept that workers who are supposed to be cared for; their remunerations and allowances are to be paid. However, that should be done with recourse to the economic state of the nation.
“You and I are aware of the financial challenges we’re currently facing but the people at the helm of affairs should have the political will to give attention to these issues. I believe that wherever there is a will, there is a way.”
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