Ibrahim Oyewale, Lokoja
Worried by the protracted industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), a group – the Coalition of Northern Group, Student Wing (CNG -SW ) – has lamented that it has exposed students to violence, exploitation, early marriage, sexual abuse and other vices.
The group believed that due to the strike, more idle minds had been recruited into militias, sexual exploitation of girls and young women, teenage pregnancies and child labour in bid to make ends meet.
Speaking with the newsmen in Lokoja yesterday, the State Coordinator, Mr. Adama Ayuba lamented that the students were worried by the prolonged closure following the resurgence of the age-long unresolved dispute between the federal government and ASUU.
The coalition expressed concerns over protracted closure of Nigerian universities as a result of the strike embarked on by ASUU, threatening to mobilise students, parents to a massive zonal protest which would include shutting down activities in all states and the National Assembly, all political parties offices, major highways, airports and railway stations
The group condemned in the strongest terms the levity with which the federal government had been approaching the indefinite closure of the universities and other institutions of higher learning.
“We are worried particularly, at the closure of these high institutions, which is in its fifth month with no immediate resolution in sight, carries high social, moral, security and economic costs for citizens across the country particularly northern Nigerian communities.
“We are disturbed also that with the closure of the universities and other educational institutions which are hubs of social activity and human interaction for such indefinite durations, Nigerian youth, especially those of financially distressed families are inadvertently forced to miss out on social contact that is essential to learning and development,” the coalition posited.
The group berated the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed who admitted that the complexities of the situation was beyond compression.
The students threatened to join forces with their parents , civil society Organisations to devise a means of achieving lasting solutions between the federal government, ASUU and other unions.
They said they unanimously agreed to mobilise students en mass and join other 18 northern states’ chapters to collaborate with students, parents ,civil society organisation in the respective states for mega meetings to decide a definite cause of action.