#EndSARS: ASUU finally speaks on #LekkiMassacre but Nigerians smell foul play

Nigerian students, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government have always had a discontented marriage. While the three are connected in more ways than one, they regularly disagree. Now, the #EndSARS protest has brought the three together again.

ASUU was still on strike before the start of the protest, as their demands have yet been met. But, the massacre at the Lekki Tollgate which over 150,000 Nigerians watched on Nigerian DJ Switch’s Instagram live feed pushed the academic to speak up to address the protests.

Reacting to the Lekki shootings, ASUU released a statement condemning the actions of the security operatives and the federal government for attacking the rights of protesters to organise and participate in a peaceful protest.

Essentially, ASUU asked the government to ‘Engage your youths, don’t kill them’

On social media, ASUU’s statement was, however, not welcomed by the third party in this unholy matrimony. Many Nigerians and students especially, berated the union for their statement. With many claiming that ASUU is just like the federal government only without guns to kill dreams.

Here are a few reactions:

Depending on how you see it, ASUU’s comment, while coming from a place of authority, reeks of hypocrisy. Nigerian students have not only endured strike actions that affect their academics they have also been subjected to protocols that prevent them from exercising their rights to protest on their various campuses with threats of rustication.

For many universities, the story is very familiar. Once students take to various campus locations to protest, the school shuts down and asks students to go home. Making them no different from the government who have created several means to oppose the #EndSARS protest. ASUU may be well within its powers to regulate her affairs and speak for Nigerian students, but on social media, coming to the side of students just painted them as hypocrites.

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