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.
SPECIAL RELEASE pic.twitter.com/hUShuJZzJU
— Official_ASUU (@ASUUNGR) October 24, 2020
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:
Don't come and disguise for us like you care, because if truly you care lekki shootings won't have happen if we are in our various learning institutions.
Thank you for wasting a whole 1 year of my learning
— 201020💔 (@Sh4matic) October 24, 2020
The only difference between two of you is
One is killing them physically while you're killing our future
Imagine, how can someone be in 300 level for 3 years?? , 3 good years!!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Uniben Onowu🇳🇬 (@JamesOjes) October 24, 2020
Most Universities have Banned protest. You threatened student with rustication. You kill their dreams, whenever they call you out, for your inadequacy. You and the FG are on the same page, a time will come when the students will come for you
— OMONIAYANFE 🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 (@ayanfe29) October 24, 2020
You guys started it by keeping them at home for months….
— kalishas_place (@Sexxinelly) October 24, 2020
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.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya