After taking stock of the recent protests against police brutality across Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the South-west has called for an improvement in governance in the country.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Kazeem Israel, on Wednesday, the students group said the government should not see the protest as a demand for the end of police brutality alone but as a general demand for improved welfare of Nigerians.
“For us, we see this as a wake up call beyond police reform but for an overhaul in governance in the nation,” the statement said.
The students urged President Muhammadu Buhari to end the hardship Nigerian are going through across the country.
“Before now, it is on record that the Buhari-led administration has been deriving pleasure in launching a series of economic attacks on the downtrodden. More recently is the increase in the price of PMS, increase in electricity tariff which amongst other factors led to skyrocketing increase in the prices of commodities even when it has become so glaring that the Nigerian masses are still suffering from the hardship imposed on them by the effects of Coronavirus pandemic.
READ ALSO: NANS president impeached for allegedly diverting COVID-19 palliatives
“Expected that a serious government at this critical period would have mapped out a more concrete economic reform to cushion the effect of Covid-19, this regime has not displayed any sense of responsibility and interest for the well-being of the citizens it claims to represent despite the fact that it is clearly stated in Section 14 sub-section 2(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’.”
The students also berated Mr Buhari for ignoring the Lekki incident in his first speech on Thursday.
“As an association, we are baffled that the President views the address of the ‘massacre’ of innocent souls as being worthless with no mention of it in his address to the Nation.
“As a students’ body, it is noteworthy to address a part of the speech of Mr President as regards the state of education. The President said ‘in order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers’. This statement is nothing but an embarrassment. It would be recalled that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for the past seven months over the failure of the Federal Government to accede to the demands of the body.
“Additionally, the same government that wants us to believe her sensitivity to the educational sector, allocated out of the National budget less than 7 percent to the sector against the UNESCO Recommendation of 26%. We reiterate our solidarity with the strike action of ASUU, SSANU, and NASU in pressing home their demands for the better welfare of their members and the educational sector at large.
“Owning to the obstinacy and insensitivity of Muhammadu Buhari to the plights of the general masses, we do not harbour any illusion that his regime will willingly accede to the demands of the striking workers and the demand for justice for the massacre of innocent souls at Lekki Toll Gate which the government is directly responsible for.
“We hereby urge all pro-masses organisations, labour unions and the general masses to exert strong pressure on this anti-masses regime of Muhammadu Buhari with declaration of day of Mass Action and some other practical and consistent methods for justice to prevail and for total social and economic liberation of the masses from the shackles of this wicked and heartless regime.“We condemn the wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties coupled with lynching and attack on lives. Our quest should not come with ruins that would prompt hurts amongst us and should not come with the destruction of our collective assets as a people.
“We therefore appeal to all Nigerians to pursue their cause with optimum civility. Nonetheless, we shall not cease to clamor against bad governance until it comes to an end with the good getting better and the better getting best. This demonstration is not over and we shall not succumb to defeat orchestrated through distractions and blackmails sponsored by enemies of the movement.”