Nigerian students protest COVID-19 lockdown; call on FG to re-open tertiary institutions

The National Association of University Students (NAUS), National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), and National Association of Nigerian Colleges of Education (NANCES), yesterday held a nationwide protest to demand the immediate reopening of campus across Nigeria.

Students also vowed to shut down the economy and every other sector in the country if the government refuses to harken to their demands and immediately reopen all the tertiary institutions across the country.

According to the aggrieved students, the continued closure of schools further reiterates the insensitivity of the leadership to education and the plight of students in the country.

Speaking at the protest which was held at the Ministry of Education and the Unity Fountains, on Wednesday in Abuja, the Senate President, National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) Dio Oghale Emeka Rex, said with the re-opening of markets, worship centres and international flights, there was no basis for the continued closure of tertiary institutions.

He said “The federal government is just playing with the future Nigerian student’s. The cure of Coronavirus is not in any political party, the cure of Coronavirus is in our institutions. The pandemic has not taking the life of students that the lockdown has taken.

“Many students have been victimised sexually and many of them have been murdered. Assuming they are in their various institutions, by now most of them would have graduated.

“Many political parties conducted their primary elections and rallies without regard for social distancing and wearing of facemask.

According to him, “The age limit for national service is 30 years and most of us are 29, of it continue like this, at the end of the day we will not be mobilised but NYSC we will shut down the country they refuse to open the schools.

On his part, a former Zone A Coordinator, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Umar Farouk, urged the Presidential Task Force (PTF), on COVID-19 immediately reopening the tertiary institutions.

“The international flights that are about to open should be shut down, the markets should be closed and all economy shut down. Coronavirus is not an excuse for our campuses to be closed, our campuses must be opened.

“If Edo state can go for rallies and also conduct an election, we are urging the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to open our campuses, they cannot continue to be in lockdown.

Also speaking, National President, National Association of University Students (NAUS), Ije Felix said the cure of the Coronavirus can only come from researches which are only conducted in the universities.

“It is fundamental to note that the cure of the virus can only come through research, research are not done anywhere except the campuses, research are not done at home or in the market. If the government is serious with this pandemic so that professors can begin to conduct researches.

“Nobody gave us money to come and protest in Abuja, we came here to tell Nigerians how we feel, we came to exercise our fundamental human rights. We are also here to tell the Nigerian government that we are tire of staying at home.”

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