In the last few years, since the commencement of the total commercialization of tertiary education in Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and all her structures, especially the Student Union Governments have been in constant engagement against the managements of different schools and different governments in order to save education and helpless indigent and socio-economically disadvantaged students.
In this struggle, we have lost our Comrades to road accidents, murder by unscrupulous operatives of security agencies and other forms of deaths, including unresolved disappearances of student activists. Others have lost their studentship, degrees, liberty, dignity and have their future tainted. And the reason is because the school managements have resorted to incessant increment in school fees due to utility bills, mainly the purchase of diesel to power electricity in the tertiary institutions.
These increments have always been resisted by the leadership of the student movement. Most times, with dire consequences.
And due to the constant engagement of the leadership of the Nigerian Students with the Federal Government on averting some of these incidents, the Federal Government graciously introduced the Energizing Education Programme (EEP) in the 2018 Appropriation Bill. Curiously the information at the disposal of the leadership of NANS is that some powerful unpatriotic Cabal are set to sabotage the programme under the spurious claim that their constituencies have no electricity and as such, tertiary institutions of learning should not have.
Our question is: are these tertiary institutions situated in Cameroun, Niger, Chad or Benin Republic? The truth is that they are demanding the contract for the job or a truncation of the programme.
For the avoidance of doubt, the EEP is a programme designed by the Federal ministry of power, works and Housing to ensure 24/7 supply of electricity to tertiary institutions in Nigeria and their environs. Most of it is to employ alternative, renewable and cleaner energy. It is funded by the World Bank in collaboration with the Federal Government.
This programme solves the problem of the increment in school fees in tertiary institutions and provides 24/7 electricity supply to tertiary institutions and University Teaching Hospitals. Though it will be done in phases, but it is one of the best ways of solving the power problem and making our tertiary institutions, real Centres of Excellence.
Energizing Education Programme is also a component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and is incorporated in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved Power Sector Reform Programme (PSRP).
It is inconceivable that any group of Nigerians, especially legislators could for any reason vow to truncate this programme simply because their business/selfish interest is not served.
Consequently, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) shall be occupying the National Assembly on her resumption in January, and would remain there until the students and Nigerians, especially parents who bear the burden of school fees and other problems associated with service delivery to their children and wards receive the assurance of the National Assembly that this timely intervention called EEP is not truncated.
We cannot stand aside and look; enough is enough! The sabotage of our National aspirations in excellence must stop!
Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta!
Comrade Kadiri Aruna
National President, NANS