The National Association of Nigerian Students, Zone D (South-West), has distanced itself from the directive issued by Sunday Asefon, NANS National President, suspending the students’ planned June 12 protest.
The association had declared June 12, 2021, as the national day of peaceful protests “to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity in our schools, campuses and also announce a proactive measure or strategy towards ensuring safer schools”.
But Asefon in a statement on Friday said he, in conjunction with other executive members, decided to suspend the strike due to the increased political tension in the country and the likelihood of students being put in harm’s way as a result of aggressive actions by security agencies.
However, in a statement jointly signed by the Coordinator, NANS Zone D, Kowe Odunayo Amos; and Secretary-General, NANS Zone D, Giwa Yisa Temitope, the NANS South-West Zone said its National President is on his own, insisting that they are going ahead with the protest.
According to the South-West students, the action of the NANS National President was pathetic, claiming that he arbitrarily suspended the protest on the same day that students of a polytechnic in Kaduna State were abducted.
The statement read: “It is most pathetic to read the statement issued by the President of NANS, Sunday Asefon calling for the cancellation of the June 12 protest which had been planned for and which has had preparations at top-gear for the execution of such. In fact, it must be put in proper perspective that the statement was issued in his personal capacity as the President of NANS and not on behalf of the association, hence, it does not reflect the position of Nigerian students because no consultation was made before such statement was issued. And, it is to this end he was careful enough to have made use of the first-person singular throughout the cause of writing the statement.
“It should be noted that just yesterday, while Sunday Asefon was busy mouthing the government’s position, students and staff of Kaduna Polytechnic were being kidnapped.
“As we all know, June 12 is an annual ritual in the country to remember the day the peoples’ right to freely elect their leader was buried. In fact, the day is not about MKO Abiola or any personality as such, but, about the Nigerian people as a whole. And, it is important to state categorically that the essence of tomorrow’s agitation is to show our dissatisfaction as an association against the rising insecurity in the country, the increased inflation rate, peoples’ inability to access health care amongst others and to also call on the government of the day to do more in securing the people of the country.”
“In fact, if some persons somewhere are going around with the tag #BuhariMustGo, that does not mean that they have the capacity to send him out of the Presidential Villa which he presently occupies. Buhari can only be sent packing through an impeachment process on the floor of the National Assembly. So, rather than suspend an agitation because of the activity of some hoodwinked persons, we are duty-bound as an association to come out and clearly state what our position as an association is on the protest that had been called. And, if at all the NANS President has the interests of Nigerian students at heart, he should have used the occasion of his meeting with the IGP to demand the adequate provision of security personnel to protect students during the cause of the protest which is actually the duty of the Police. As an association, we are not preaching Buhari must go, we believe in one Nigeria but, the current challenges confronting us, security-wise is not encouraging.
“As a Zone, we totally dissociate ourselves from the statement of the NANS President and call on SU bodies throughout the South West campuses to maintain the mobilisation which is on the ground. June 12 day of action is sacrosanct and we shall never for any reason succumb to blackmail of any sort. Our agitation is strictly a call for the Federal Government to abide by the social contract willingly entered into with the Nigerian people.”