University students drawn from across the country, yesterday took over the streets of Abuja to protest the continued closure of schools despite the reopening of certain sectors from the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The student leaders of the various public universities, who accused the government of double standard, said if activities could resume in worship centres, open markets and airports, there was no point keeping students from returning back to school. President of the National Association of University Students (NAUS), Comrade Ejigah Felix, who argued that government could not claim to be fighting coronavirus when universities and polytechnics were closed to academic activities, noted that true and genuine research for the virus’ cure would only come from the institutions.
While blaming the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for not doing enough to see to the reopening of schools, he challenged him to take a cue from his transportation counterpart, whom he said had fought to the resumption of activities in the sector.
In his words: “Our schools have been shut down for too long. Markets are now open, campaigns are going on. What it clearly shows is that educational sector is a sector that is not recognized in this country. What it shows is that it is the educational sector that is neglected in this country. “Anybody who says he’s fighting coronavirus in this country and is not taking educational sector serious is a liar, because it is a sector where the virus can be fought through research and researches are only done in academic fields.
“How do you close our universities, our polytechnics and all relevant academic institutions and you are telling people that you want to stop the virus? Our demands are that our schools should be reopened. “Students are about wasting one year at home and this is not good for the Nigerian students. The Federal Ministry of Education is not doing us well. If the Ministry of Transportation can liaise and find a way for us to move despite the problem, if people in markets can find a way despite the problem, then education sector should find a way for our schools to be reopened.” On the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Felix urged the Federal Government to figure a means of addressing the issues to avoid putting the young generation at risk.