Students under the aegis of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) on Thursday, queried the Federal Government’s apparent stand that it does not have the fund the Academic Staff Union of Universities is demanding in the same system a government official is allegedly stealing up to N80bn.
The students are referring to the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who has been arrested for the alleged crime.
The union blocked major roads in Ado-Ekiti to protest against the prolonged nationwide strike declared by ASSU.
The protesters had as early as 8:00 a.m, converged in their large numbers on Adebayo area and trekked to the popular Fajuyi Park, where they mounted barricades chanting solidarity songs.
Motorists and commercial motorcyclists had a hectic day as the protesting students caused gridlock making the roads impassable.
The rally was organised by NANS, in collaboration with the Joint Campus Committee, Ekiti axis and attended mostly by students of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti and the Federal University, Oye Ekiti.
Students from other institutions in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, also joined the protest in solidarity.
The NANS President, Sunday Asefon, said the protest was geared towards reawakening the Federal Government to accede to ASUU’s demands for the students to return to classes.
Asefon, who addressed the students, said the country’s education was being stifled by protracted closure of the country’s ivory towers.
He said no nation could develop when its universities, considered to be veritable grounds for research, was in imminent collapse.
“The universities believed to be breeding ground for research, invention and building of knowledge base of the youth, are rendered functionless, with students left to rotten away without mercy,” he said.
Asefon said the body was still planning a bigger rally under the nomenclature ‘Operation Test-Run’ that would shake the country over alleged inability to resolve the issue.
“What we are saying is that we are tired of staying at home. Our students want to return to school.
“How can the FG be claiming of having no fund to accede to ASUU demands when corruption of huge magnitude was being perpetrated?
“The Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, was arrested for alleged N80 billion fraud.
“The former Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, was also arrested by the EFCC for alleged N47 billion naira fraud and the government was claiming that there was no money in the treasury.
“Our demand is simple, the FG must meet all the demands and conditions set by ASUU. We are tired of strike today, strike tomorrow.
“Strike is exposing our students to crime and the best bet is to return to school.
“No nation can grow when its intellectual thrust is being debased. Our students are being deprived of their rights to standard education,” he said.