The Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neoliberal Attacks (ANSA), a student organization, on Tuesday condemned attacks on democratic rights of students by tertiary institutions across the country.
ANSA, in a press statement signed by its National Coordinator, Sanyaolu Juwon, including its National Secretary and Public Relations Officer, slammed Nigerian universities for their unconstitutional and illegal restriction of the rights of students.
The student movement claimed that managements of tertiary institutions persecute students and student bodies that demand better welfare and academic environments for students in the country.
“It is very self-evident that managements of Nigerian tertiary institutions are exceptionally hostile to dissent and hold the greatest detestation for democratic structures. We make bold to assert that the only crime of students is questioning the ultra-fascist character of their respective management as it pertains to terrible living and learning conditions,” ANSA asserted in its statement.
ANSA listed some recent cases of students and institutions where voices of students have been repressed, from the eight student leaders of the Federal College of Agriculture to the rustication of 31 students from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, over demands of creating a sound academic environment for students. Philip Olatinwo, Akinola Abiodun, Ridwan Ajayi, Adeyeye Olorunfemi, Ogbonna Collins were also listed among students who are currently facing repression from their respective institutions.
ANSA averred that the management staffs of institutions prefer to manage campuses and academic activities under criminal conditions with no respect for rights and laws.
ANSA further stressed that the spate of student victimization across the country is alarming and cannot be considered coincidental, adding that the outrageous funding of education by the federal and state governments cannot be overlooked.
“We are not hoodwinked into thinking the attacks on vibrant unionism at this particular period are quite coincidental. We are highly convinced that this trend of political victimization is targeted at leaving the students defenseless against the imminent fee hikes which will soon plague every campus in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
“Government at all levels have taken it as its responsibility to underfund education. The 2017 and 2018 budgets witnessed a very horrific trend of underfunding for the education sector.
“With the trend of underfunding, the message of this irresponsible government to their greedy lackeys that manage our tertiary institutions is to increase fees. The University of Benin has recently increased all fees as others are beginning to brace themselves for this fee hike,” the student movement added.
ANSA demanded that quality education should be free in Nigeria considering the huge amount of funds allocated to other sectors and how money is being carelessly disbursed and looted in the country. The movement also revealed that it would commence a nationwide action to demand upward funding of education in the country.
“It is on this basis that the Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neoliberal Attacks (ANSA) is prepared to undertake a nationwide campaign to demand the reinstatement of all politically victimized activists, upward funding of education and against draconic fee hikes,” ANSA concluded.