By Chijioke Okoronkwo
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has pledged to play the role of whistle blowers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption.
NANS National President, Comrade Chinonso Obasi, made this stance known while briefing newsmen on Monday in Abuja.
He said that investigations had shown that the pitiable condition of Nigerian tertiary institutions could be partly attributed to deep- seated corruption in the system.
“In this regard, we have resolved to partner the government, anti-graft agencies and unions in the tertiary institutions in the fight against corruption as being pursued by the President Buhari administration.
“A well-thought out strategy will be communicated to all NANS zonal chapters and branches, on how our members would play the role of whistle blowers.
“ We look forward to a robust collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission(ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) in this war against corruption in higher institutions of learning.’’
He said that NANS was in solidarity with Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and other staff unions in condemning the continued industrial unrest at the Federal University of Technology Akure(FUTA).
Obasi called on government to take a decisive action concerning FUTA’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola.
According to him, FUTA has been experiencing industrial disharmony since Oct. 2016 as a result of workers demand for the removal of Daramola on grounds of alleged corruption.
“Since it is on record that the vice-chancellor has a case to answer at the EFCC, though yet to be arraigned, NANS is of the opinion that a government that is bent on fighting corruption in all ramifications should not turn a blind eye under these circumstances.
“Similarly, ÑANS calls on Prof. Francis Otunta, the Vice Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike to resign within seven days for alleged gross incompetence, maladministration and corrupt practices.
“Failure to heed this patriotic call would be met with serious resistance as we shall not hesitate to occupy and chase him out of the university,’’ he said.
He said that Nigeria’s educational sector was at its lowest point in the national history.
Obasi said the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and SSANU were on warning strike over government’s failure to implement 2009 Agreement.
The NANS president said the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) had also threatened to down tools, by resuming its suspended strike.
“We are not forgetting the running battle between ASUU and government, which was also led to some warning strike by the lecturers.
“We are equally aware of efforts of government to mitigate the situation including the setting up of Wale Babalakin Committee to re-negotiate with ASUU; and this time around other unions in the universities inclusive.
“While we commend government for that laudable step, NANS is however constrained to say that some more proactive and far-reaching steps should be taken in funding tertiary education in Nigeria,’’ Obasi said.
He said that Nigerian students could not continue to study in an unfriendly environment that lacked the requisite facilities of tertiary institutions.