The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has disclosed reasons behind suspending their planned nationwide protest on June 12, the country’s Democracy Day.
Addressing newsmen in a press conference to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day on Saturday in Enugu, the national public relations officer of NANS, Ezenagu Victor, also debunked speculations that the association was bribed to suspend the planned protest.
According to him, the student body suspended the protest after discovering that some politicians were planning to hijack the protest to cause mayhem in the country.
Mr Ezenagu said, “All along, we chose June 12th as a day all Nigerian students would come out to protest against the insecurity in the country, especially the serial abductions of students.
“Very close to the planned date, some politicians with different agendas fixed their protest on the same day and demanding that “President Buhari must go”. Because that was not our plan, we decided to suspend the protest.
“The suspension of the protest is necessary to avoid a clash of interest and clash with security agencies that are on red alert to protect the nation’s infrastructures from security breaches on the proposed date as a result of many other protests slated for the same date.
“Talking about the allegation of taking bribe from the federal government to suspend the planned protest,
“If we were bribed to stop the protest, we wouldn’t have been cruder in addressing this administration as a failed one.
“Obviously, Nigerians and Nigerian students are livid and irate because our joy has been turned to sorrows and our hearts broken by the pain and brutality that our fellow students have suffered in recent times ranging from the abduction of students of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, #ABU 7, to the abduction of over 20 students of Greenfield University, down to Niger State and several other states.
“So many students have also lost their lives as a result of the clashes between the security agents and unknown gun men which have led to Nigerian students living in perpetual fear.
“Painfully, we live in a nation where students numbering over 200 can be easily kidnapped and taken out of their schools/town without any form of resistance from the security agencies, this calls for serious concern.
“We have waited so long for the security around schools to be greatly improved to ensure our students are secured but we have seen little or no improvement.
“These incessant cases of banditry, herdsmen attacks, operations of the unknown gunmen and kidnapping of our students call for a radical and urgent move by the government to salvage the situation.
“We have been daunted by the unending news of killings across the length and breadth of the nation such that death appears normal in our society today.
“These developments are not only unacceptable; they portend great dangers to the very essence of our national unity, progress and development”.
While calling on the governments at all levels to rise up to the occasion and secure the lives and property of Nigerians which is their first and most important constitutional duty, NANS said it was unacceptable for the nation to be celebrating democracy “when the masses cannot enjoy the dividends of democracy.
The student body demanded amongst other things that “the security architecture around our campuses be re-jigged to ensure maximum security for Nigerian Students studying anywhere in Nigeria.
While also calling on the federal government to as a matter of urgency convoke a national dialogue to discuss the way forward for the nation, NANS also appealed to the federal government to rescind the suspension of “Twitter” because “it remains one of the most viable platforms where our students connect with their counterparts across the globe.”