ICYMI

April 5, 2024

NANS should defend students, not govts —Falana

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HUMAN rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, yesterday, expressed worry that the current leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has become the mouthpiece of the government, saying they have strayed from the motive of establishing the union.

Falana said this at the maiden edition of The Yinka Odumakin Inter-faculty Debate and Public Lecture, held by the Student Union of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

The legal practitioner said the students’ body should be repositioned to defend Nigerian students.

He said: “Notwithstanding the opportunism of a few student leaders, NANS should be recognised and repositioned to defend Nigerian students. To achieve this objective, the ban on all student unions should be lifted without any further delay.

“Student unions should collaborate with the trade unions in and outside the campuses to defend the right of Nigerians to education. The take-over of the Nigerian economy by imperialism must not be allowed by the academic community.

“Even though students are said to be leaders of tomorrow, they must ensure that the future is not mortgaged by a government that is religiously committed to the implementation of neoliberal policies. It is a duty that requires the alliance of all progressive forces in the country. Time is not on the side of Nigerian students.

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“In recent times, the NANS has become a mouthpiece of reactionary governments. It has joined the Federal Government to fight ASUU and NLC.

“The current crop of student leaders ought to realise that NANS was not set up to defend Governments but Nigerian students. Henceforth, NANS should promote and defend the interests of Nigerian students at home and abroad.

“NANS should take up the case of the two students who lost their lives during a stampede which occurred in the Nassarawa State University during the distribution of 7kg bags of rice.”

“Instead of throwing food at people like animals in a zoo, the federal and state governments should establish a social security system to take care of vulnerable and indigent citizens. NANS should lead the campaign against the abduction of students and payment of ransom running to several billions of Naira.”

“Governments should acquire the vital security equipment to track kidnappers, terrorists and the so-called unknown gunmen. Nigerians should not be deceived into believing that the establishment of state police is the panacea to insecurity in the country.”

“I was a member of the Alliance of Progressive Students, ALPS, a student socialist group. Yinka was also a member of the ALPS. I was the Public Relations Officer of the student union during the 1979/80 academic session.”