Paul Obi in Abuja
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Thursday protested over the refusal of Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to reinstate the 13 vice chancellors sacked by government without recourse to rules and principles governing university system.
The protesting students who came in about 10 buses to the Federal Secretariat, barricaded the entrance of the Federal Ministry of Education, chanting anti-government songs and carrying placards with inscriptions like, Adamu Must Go, Reinstate Sacked VCs, Stop Abusing University Autonomy, Stop the Interference among others.
Addressing the students, NANS President, Comrade Tijani Usman Shehu, gave the minister 48 hours ultimatum to reinstate the sacked VCs or face the wrath of the students.
Shehu maintained that Adamu had remained adamant to the demands, paying deaf ears to the demands for the reinstatement of the sacked 13 vice chancellors, despite the merits of such request.
He said: “We have remained steadfast in voicing our appropriate displeasure at the dictatorial manner the minister is conducting the affairs of this sensitive ministry. Adamu’s impunity began rising to its never-ending crest with his arbitrary pronouncement of the sack of the VCs without recourse to the extant laws.
“Indeed, throughout the ensuing stalemate, several other factors such as statements, directives and actions played out which only went further to buttress the ministers recalcitrance for taking correction just as he lacked the finesse for conducting the affairs of this great ministry within the ambits of due process.
“May we also bring this to the knowledge of the concerned public that the minister has rather chosen to attack the image of our renowned association using faceless groups and phoney characters all in a bid to avoid doing the right thing.”
Shehu added that the wrong precedence the minister of Education seeks to entrench has already begun to exert a negative toll on our educational institutions as seen in the numerous upheavals taking place on campuses without the due attention of the minister.
According to NANS, President Muhammadu Buhari’s open apology on the sack, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Folashade Esan’s apology to the National Assembly and “the minister’s consistent approach of avoiding stakeholders who have posited the simple solution to the matter,” glaringly show the dangerous path being threaded by Adamu.
The National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary, Prof Julius Okojie, who came out on behalf of the ministry to calm down the protesting students assured them that he would make their grievances known to the minister.
He appealed to them to remain peaceful as their demands are carefully being looked into, in the overall interest of the country.