Following the suit by the factional President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Umar Farouk, against some ministers and striking university lecturers, the South-West Zone of NANS has distanced itself from the move, questioning the legality of the acclaimed position of the plaintiff and the merit of the suit itself.
A statement signed by five executive members of the zone, led by the Coordinator, Adegboye Olatunji, Saturday, noted that ASUU was was on a genuine cause of public interest, adding that a serious student leader would show solidarity with the striking lecturers.
The statement partly read, “The suit would have been a welcomed development for Nigerian students but for two critical reasons, we cannot but declare the move as lacking merit and reasoning.
“On one hand, the person who filed the suit acclaimed himself to be the President of NANS in the suit. This needs to be stated publicly that Umar Farouk, though, contested in the last National Election of NANS held precisely on September 4, 2022, but lost the election to Usman Barambu, who won in a landslide victory. This forms the basis of the lack of merit of the suit in that you cannot assume a position you do not have right to and still file a suit in the capacity of that office.
“On the other hand, the suit clearly stated that ASUU has also been sued. It would be expected that a supposed President of an ideological association as NANS should understand the principle of solidarity among all unions especially on matters of public interest as what ASUU stands for in this case.”
NANS said the demands of ASUU were reasonable, ideological, and progressive in the interest of the masses, adding that the demands called for the support of every reasonably progressive individual and organisation.
“ASUU cannot be sued for expressing her fundamental rights as a Union by adopting strike as last option after many failed attempt to get the Federal Government do the needful. There were several agreements reached between ASUU and the government before and during this strike, none has been fulfilled by the government while ASUU in the recent past had suspended her intended strike options in honour of these agreements. Yet, the government failed to honour the agreement which it willingly entered into. The question then is, on what reasonable ground would a purported student leader sue ASUU?” NANS queried.
“His suit against ASUU does not represent the position of Nigerian students. It is the responsibility of the government to fund education while lecturers have the right to good working condition. These are universal standard. As a zone, we have shown our commitment to the struggle of saving public university education and we are resolute on continuing in same manner,” the statement concluded.
The statement was co-signed by NANS Joint Campus Committee chairmen of Ogun, Ondo, Lagos and Oyo states, Kehinde Simeon, Omotosho Surprise, Olusesi Tolulope and Adeleke Quadri respectively.
NANS has also vowed to storm the airports, Monday, in protest against what it described as the failure of the Federal Government to resolve issues with ASUU that has been on strike since February 14, 2022.