Reacting to the lingering nationwide Industrial action by ASUU, students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, in collaboration with the South-East leaders of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) on Thursday staged a peaceful protest in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, and called on the Federal government to address the demands of ASUU immediately.
The students said if the Federal government fails to address ASUU demands within two weeks, they would be left with no other option than to occupy the streets until the government does the right thing.
Addressing Journalists at Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium, Abakaliki, the SUG President of AE-FUNAI, Comrade Jerry Okafor, regretted that the strike had pushed most students to the streets, thereby exposing them to all kinds of social vices.
Okafor called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take urgent steps to resolve ASUU Strike, wondering why Nigerian politicians would be spending billions of naira on political party primaries while students are at home over strike.
“We are against the Federal Government for not meeting the demands of ASUU. Members of ASUU are our lecturers, and if not because of these lecturers, we won’t be getting standard education, so the Federal Government because of negligence, have not settled ASUU for a very long time based on their agreement in 2009, among others.
“They have abandoned the students, the future leaders of this country, because of primary elections and don’t even have any concern about our wellbeing because most of their children are studying outside the country, getting sound and standard education while we are here gallivanting on the streets.
“Some students are already indulging in all forms of social vices because of the ASUU strike.
“We are urging Federal Government to settle ASUU. They spent billions during the just concluded primary elections and what ASUU is demanding is not up to that amount. The Federal Government should do the needful because we, the students, are not happy. We are giving them two weeks ultimatum to resolve the strike or we storm the entire streets of this state and beyond.
On his part, the Chairman, Joint Campus Council (JCC) Ebonyi State, Comrade Oke John Kingsley noted that students were not happy about the way the ASUU strike was being handled by the Federal Government, saying that they are tired of staying at home.
He added that some students were now fully into prostitution, unwanted pregnancy, early marriage while others were into yahoo, because of the inability of the government to resolve the strike.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to listen to the demands of ASUU to provide facilities that would make the school environment conducive for teaching and learning.
“We are no longer happy sitting at home, we are tired. Because of this ASUU Strike, some students are now into prostitution, some are getting unwanted pregnancy, and early marriage, and some are into yahoo and illegal activities on the streets while security agencies are busy arresting them. We are tired of going to the police station.
“As a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should negotiate with ASUU.If there is no good facilities in the school, we won’t have a conducive environment for learning.”
Also speaking, the Coordinator, NANS Zone F, South East Zone, Comrade Ibeabuchi Moses and the immediate past Coordinator of NANS, South East/South-South Zone, Comrade Olisa Nwuruku Alfred, all pointed out that the nationwide strike had caused much harm, noting that the peaceful demonstration was to express their grievances over the ASUU strike.
They lamented that students were at home while the Nigerian government is preparing to conduct general elections, and pleaded with the Federal Government to meet with the demands of ASUU to enable students go back to school to avoid being used as thugs during the elections.
The Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Students Affairs, Hon. Gideon Onwe who received the students on behalf of the government urged the students to continue to comport themselves and remain peaceful as Federal Government was already looking into the matter.