The National Association of Nigerian Students has told the Department of State Services not to stop students from protesting, saying that this is a human right that everyone agrees on.
Giwa Temitope, the union’s National Public Relations Officer, was responding to DSS’s claim that some lawmakers were getting student leaders to organize a violent protest against the federal government over socioeconomic issues.
Peter Afunanya, a spokesman for the security agency, said on Monday, “Intelligence reports show that the plotters include some politicians who are desperately trying to get student leaders, ethnic-based groups, young people, and angry groups to join them in the planned action.”
Last week, PUNCH Online reported that a group called Student Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike said it would protest fee increases at the University of Lagos on September 6, 2023.
In a statement sent to our reporter on Tuesday, the NANS PRO said that they supported the move and that the students would be storming UNILAG for the protest. They also asked the DSS not to violate the rights of students.
Giwa said, “It is embarrassing that the DSS has gone off track and become the Federal Government’s propaganda arm, raising false alarms and even getting involved in things that have nothing to do with their job.”
“As an association, we continue to say that we are not happy with how Nigeria is run, especially when it comes to the random fee increases at our universities, with the University of Lagos as an example.”
NANS said that the UNILAG management didn’t keep the deal they made with student leaders on August 2. This, they said, “forced the student body to set a date of action at the university for September 6, and the protest will continue until the management rolls back the increase.”
“Students are therefore asked to come out in large numbers and join the protest for the immediate reversal of fees at the University of Lagos.”
In July 2023, the management of UNILAG raised the fees for students learning medicine from N19,000 to N190,250. For courses that needed labs and studios, students were to pay N140,250.
The management said that “prevailing economic realities” were the reason for the price increase.