The Academic Staff Union of Universities has reacted to the harassment of protesting students by soldiers on Thursday.
The PUNCH reported that students who were protesting at the gate of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, earlier today, had a face-off with a team of the Nigerian Army who attempted to run over the students in a bid to forcefully gain passage.
ASUU reacted in a statement signed by its Lagos Zonal Coordinator, Comrade Adelaja Odukoya, titled ‘NEED FOR EXTREME CAUTION, DEMOCRATIC CIVILITY, AND SENSITIVITY IN HANDLING STUDENTS PROTESTS’. The body condemned the actions of the military and the Nigeria Police Force so far, asking the High Commands of the forces to “issue stringent directives of caution to their operatives who have made two to three attempts at attacking students.”
Odukoya said, “Army and Police have constitutional responsibilities to protect and not attack, maim or brutalise protesting students across the country. There are more than enough pains, anguish, and bloodshed in the land on account of the government’s failure; to allow security indiscretion to cause the death of a single student will be unconscionable and unacceptable.”
The statement partly read, “ASUU Lagos Zone wishes to use this opportunity to call on both the Nigerian Army and Police to rein-in their officers with trigger happy disposition towards popular protests, particularly legitimate protest of students. This is in view of the ongoing protests forced upon students who have been out of their classrooms as a consequence of government insensitivity to the more three months old ASUU strike.
“It is not surprising that a government that has been accustomed and happy with students’ passivity and indifference to the criminal neglect and inadequate funding of our universities, cannot but be shocked and angered by the new progressive and constructive awakening of Nigerian students to join forces with our Union and compel the government to live up to its responsibilities for the education of Nigerian youths. This patriotic action of the Nigerian students is highly commendable and gives us hope for our beloved country.
ASUU said it was in support of the students’ protests, adding that it was monitoring the protests across the country.
It added, “The attempt to crush students with an Army van today at the gate of the University of Ibadan (UI) is shameful, condemnable, and disgraceful.
“It seems the security officials are yet to learn anything useful from the #EndSARS revolts. It cannot be overemphasised that students, like all citizens, have fundamental rights to protest as enshrined in our Constitution.
“ASUU Lagos Zone salutes our students for their steadfastness and resolute struggle to get the Federal Government to adequately fund education at all levels. With more organising and collective actions by the students, parents, civil societies, and other stakeholders, victory will surely come!”