Story by Felix Khanoba
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says regular stealing of the nation’s wealth by foreign and Nigerian contractors, politicians and distributors is fuelling the youth’s protests rocking various parts of the country.
The umbrella body of universities’ lecturers, in a statement titled: ‘Engage Our Youth, Don’t Kill Them’, made available to newsmen at the weekend, expressed shock over reports of violent attacks on protesting youth under the aegis of #EndSARS and called for justice.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the government’s handling of the Lekki incident. The repression and killing of any citizen for exercising the constitutionally guaranteed rights to protest is unjustifiable and criminal.
“We call on the Federal Government to get to the roots of the crisis and ensure that justice is done and seen to have been done to all victims of the dissent into brutality and murder,” the statement signed by the National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said.
ASUU lamented the continuous exploitation of Nigeria’s wealth by few individuals in collaboration with foreigners, saying it is only when the existential needs of the citizenry – economic, social, cultural are factor into the nation’s security architecture that there can be enduring peace.
“We have drawn attention to the presence of a local exploiting class whose members collaborate with foreign exploiting firms to steal Nigeria’s wealth and transfer it abroad. Among the major causes of the current situation is the stealing, on a massive scale, by foreign and Nigerian contractors, politicians, distributors, and commission agents who do not contribute to production.
“These and other exploitative and rent-seeking tendencies have, cumulatively, precipitated the intractable crisis engulfing virtually all regions of the country…
“The youth’s ongoing protest is a challenge to those who hold political power to urgently and rightly address the core issues of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, poor education, and lack of access to social services such as adequate healthcare, good roads, housing and electricity for majority of Nigerians,” the statement added.