By Judith Onwosi
National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ebonyi State Chapter has expressed their bitter concerns towards the lingering closure of schools in Nigeria as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director of Special Duties, NANS Zone B, Ebonyi State Representative, Comr. Nwuruku Olisa Alfred, in a press conference held in Abakaliki, said it was absurd that government would open markets, churches, etc, but had refused to open schools.
“We are aware that our learning centres are centres of civilization, dominated by a large number of people of high intelligence and the home of research and innovation, so we don’t see why our higher institutions should be closed in this period of a national emergency whose solution is supposed to be birthed by them.
“Once we silence the expert we empower the charlatans. The purpose of education is for a society to train those who will help it solve its problems. In a time of great troubles, the actions of a people show where it expects salvation from: the markets are open, the churches are open, the mosques are open, everything else is opened but our schools are closed. We cannot hold out peace anymore, our collective silence is an indictment.”
The students’ group, further condemned what it termed the prolonged subsisting ASUU Strike which it said, might continue even if the ban on academic activities were lifted.
NANS called for the immediate resumption of negotiation between the federal government and ASUU, saying, “you are essentially negotiating our destinies, what is on the table is our future and we demand that both parties approach this with the sense of responsibility and urgency that it deserves and not see it as a power play.”
The group further expressed dissatisfaction over the crumbling Nigeria’s education sector, lamenting that the pandemic had further brought the sector to its knees, and urged government to act fast.
“It’s uncomfortable to do this but must condemn the half-hearted attention lent to the education sector among its sister sectors. If Nigeria had a formidable education sector, then Nigerian students would have had fewer academic bruises to cure than what’s currently laying ahead.”
The group disclosed that at the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given to the Federal Government to address the issues brought to its table by the Nigerian Students, it would have no other option than to embark on peaceful demonstration to press home their demands.
“Confess our impatience with the non-resumption of our schools and to state the likelihood of the demonstrations and other actions and gestures which may naturally flow from the exhaustion of our patients over this gross injustice levelled against the Nigerian students. Education is a right and not a privilege and the government must not only understand this but be seen to act like they understand it.”