The leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) yesterday dismissed as false an allegation by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that it received N150 million from the presidency.
The National Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NANS, Mr Adeyemi Amoo, said in Abuja that students should discountenance the ASUU allegation, saying the association was ready to protect the interest of all students.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari, who is known in character and style to virtually all, would never dole out such amount of money for any reason except for national benefit or development.
President Buhari on January 3, met with the leadership of the Nigerian students to resolve issues with ASUU.
The meeting deliberated on ways to smoothen unresolved issues that led to the industrial action.
Amoo said: “Our attention has been drawn to the purported and sponsored allegation that NANS had been bribed by President Muhammadu Buhari with a whooping sum of N150 million to protest against ASUU.
“We commend the well-meaning, intellectual and genuine civil society groups for not falling cheap for this blackmail, as we’ve gotten informed and reliably that they’ve also been lobbied by ASUU to join them in pushing such blackmail.
“We are not surprised that this blackmail isn’t flying beyond the pseudo groups they’ve been able to arrange and mobilise with cash. President Muhammadu Buhari is a known person in character and style to virtually all Nigerians, even the opposition knows that Buhari will never give out such amount of money for any reason(s) that is not of national benefits or developments.
“No doubt this propaganda might have seen the acceptance of the masses if it wasn’t targeted towards Buhari himself.”
Amoo explained that NANS had earlier declared November 17, 2018 as a nationwide day of mass action tagged: “SAVE EDUCATION RALLY” held simultaneously across the states of the federation, to protest the incessant strikes across universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
He added that in October 2018, NANS national leadership met with the Minister for Education, to fine-tune ways of putting a long-term end to the regular carnival of strikes in the educational sector.
“We thereby demanded as the major stakeholders in the sectors, to always have representatives at the meeting of ASUU with the federal government, as this was targeted towards adding to the strength and voice of ASUU, so as to make government yield to their demands in time.
“The federal government on her own side sees the request of being an observer at the negotiation table with ASUU as a welcome development. NANS was invited twice to the meeting of federal government with ASUU, ably represented by the NANS national president, Danielson Akpan, but was walked out twice by the ASUU leadership, insisting that such negotiations must not be done in the presence of younger ones.”