University students under the umbrella of National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, yesterday, took to the streets in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, calling on the Federal Government to accede to the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
They equally threatened to shut down activities in the private universities in the country should the crisis linger on.
The students who displayed several placards with various inscriptions, lambasted the Federal Government for its failure to honour the agreement it entered into with ASUU since 2009.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Asafon Sunday, Director of Action and Mobilisation NANS, South–West, claimed between 2000 and 2011 the Nigerian government earned about N48.48 trillion from the sale of oil alone, against N3.10 trillion earned between 1979 and 1999
He said the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, in 2012 financial year alone generated N5.12 trillion from tax paid by the masses.
According to him: “With this tremendous upswing in the revenue at the disposal of the Nigerian government, one would have expected such to translate to commensurate improvement in the quality of Nigeria’s public education as well as other social services.”
He condemned the refusal of Federal Government to budget a reasonable amount of money to education sector as recommended by UNESCO which is 26 per cent of the country’s total budget.
Sunday noted that some countries with smaller Gross Domestic Product, GDP, like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco and Botswana had budgetary allocations to education sector as follow, 31 per cent,20 per cent,23 per cent ,17.7 per cent and 19 per cent respectively to 8.5 per cent that Nigeria government had budgeted for education in 2013.
Also speaking, Steven Adara ,a student leader from Ekiti State University, EKSU , lamented that government officials and prominent Nigerians were not bothered about the crisis in the public universities because their children were in private schools overseas.
According to him: “We will mobilise and disrupt academic activities in the private universities because it is the sons and daughters of the rich that are in these schools.”