NANS: FG’s 2021 Budgetary Allocation to Education Worst in 10 years

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…Mulls security, education summit

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The President of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), Sunday Asefon, has described the 2021 budgetary allocation for the education sector by the President Muhammadu Buhari government as the worst in the last decade.Disturbed by the neglect of the education sector, which was allocated 5.6 percent in the 2021 budget, and the high level of insecurity in the country, NANS said it planned to organise a security and education summit to partner stakeholders on how to arrest the drift in the two critical sectors.

Asefon stated this in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State yesterday during a courtesy visit to the office of the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Correspondents’ Chapel.

According to him, “I condemn totally the federal government’s 2021 budgetary provision for education. It was the worst in the last 10 years. The government only apportioned 5.6 percent to the sector out of a total of N13.6 trillion budgetary provision.

“When you remove the percentage for basic education, what then becomes of the tertiary cadre? The percentage is ridiculous, low and disappointing. This is one of the challenges we are facing in the education sector.”

Asefon assured Nigerians that NANS under his leadership would invest quality time to advocate for better funding of the education sector, saying the sector has been neglected because only the children of the poor attend public universities.

On the spate of insecurity in Nigeria, Asefon described as shocking, the kidnapping of over 300 boarding students of the Government College in Kankara, Katsina State, by gunmen, saying that had attested to the utter failure of governance in the country.

“I was shocked by this incident, and I therefor urge the federal government to do something urgently about this. When I was told that the Kankara students were kidnapped with motorbikes, I was not really sad, and this shows we don’t have security around our campuses. Our students were being bullied and harassed by bandits across the northern region, we won’t tolerate that.

“Nigeria is richly blessed. If you look at our budget, several billions of naira were being budgeted to security sector. In spite of this, we are not secure. With the way things are today, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.

“I think we can borrow a leave from Singapore. Singapore had a lot of challenges like ours in the past, but it overcame them with proper planning. Nigeria should take a leaf from this country.

“We are worried that our education and security have deteriorated due to government lapses. They have collapsed and Nigeria needs urgent overhauling.

“NANS under my headship will organise education and security summit, where we can address the deficiencies in these two sectors,” he stated.

Asefon said his leadership of the association would tackle the malaise of sex-for-mark, unlawful rustication and other forms of injustices on campuses.

He also warned the government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to renege on the pact that led to the suspension of over nine months industrial action in the universities.

“The government and ASUU must honour their own side of the agreement. We are particularly worried that ASUU, whose members are supposed to be socialists, but are turning capitalists. They no longer put their children in the public schools and also not dedicated to duty.

“ASUU should not consider another strike. A lot of students had died, while some had taken into cyber fraud and won’t come back to schools. Were the government and ASUU not aware that 75 percent of those that participated in #EndSARS protests were students? They constituted about 41 million of Nigeria’s population,” Asefon said.

The NANS president, therefore, called for the total overhauling of the education and security sectors to be able to deliver for Nigerians.

Asefon stated that the election that brought him to office was keenly contested, which he said further put a burden on him to be focused in his service to the students, by executing transformational agenda that would reform and rebrand NANS.