Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Students of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) have appealed to the federal government and other appropriate authorities to mobilise them for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme and also admit their Law graduates to the Nigerian Law Schools.
Addressing a press conference at the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Osogbo, Osun State, yesterday, the President of the Student Union of NOUN, Osogbo campus, Basiru Omotayo, asked the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC) to direct the managements of NYSC and Nigerian Law Schools to comply with the NOUN Act.
Omotayo said the federal government was yet to implement NOUN Act which was signed into law on December 4, 2018. He said the Act allows graduates of the distance learning centre to participate in the NYSC scheme and also gain admission into Law schools.
The students, who displayed various placards during the conference, threatened to embark on mass protest across the country should their demands be ignored.
They, however, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government and other concerned authorities to meet their demands.
Omotayo said it was an act of injustice that graduates of NOUN could not have the same rights, benefits and privileges as their mates in conventional federal-owned universities.
According to him, “Statistically, we (NOUN students) are the ones paying the highest amount of money in a federal university compared to other federal universities in the country, so why everything about NOUN is always delayed unlike our mates from other universities?
“It is no more news that the bill that allows National Open University graduates to participate in NYSC scheme and admitted in Law school has been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari since December 4, 2018, still nothing has been done so far to implement it.
“The NOUN is a federal open and distance learning institution accredited by NUC, and it is the first of its kind in the West African sub-region. It is Nigeria’s largest tertiary institution in terms of student population.
“We pay heavily to afford the National Open University terms and conditions as directed by NUC but we are denied of certain things enjoyed by graduates of other tertiary institutions.
“I have seen a Nigerian graduate from National Open University in Benin Republic serving in Nigeria, even with international treatment. I have also seen a graduate of NOUN who was denied of an employment due to lack of NYSC discharge certificates; it is not fair at all. This must stop. How can we spend heavily to get our degrees and companies within the same country would not recognise our certificates?
“We therefore plead to the federal government to meet our demands in order to prevent spontaneous agitations across the country. NOUN has about 515,000 students, and Nigeria would not find it funny should we storm the streets in protest. We want NOUN 2020 graduates to be mobilised together with the 2020 Batch A of other universities.
“Failure to comply with this and other demands, we shall all match as the largest university in Nigeria in all the 36 states and make it known to the world that we have been treated as second class citizens by our government and all the activities of the government will be disrupted through social media and peaceful protest.”