In a statement by its National Director of Information, Mr. Uchenna Madu, MASSOB condemned what it called the insensitivity and callousness of Nigeria’s Federal Government in handling the strike, which has been on for more than eight months.
Members of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and College of Education Academic Staff Union had been on strike since September and December 2013 respectively.
Madu said, “The closures of the polytechnics and colleges of education have grossly affected the academic and moral growth of their students. This is not healthy for the future of our children who are tomorrow’s leaders.”
He said it was saddening that the closure of the institutions has led some female students into prostitution, commercial sales/factory work and petty trading while some male students have been introduced to criminal activities, commercial motorcycle business and internet fraud.
He further said that those who could not find anything to do have been introduced to smoking and drinking.
“How can President Goodluck Jonathan win next year’s election without the support and votes of the students? Why must the President’s wife keep quiet when millions of students are on the street rotting away with their brains?
“We demand that government should be serious with a good sense of sensitivity in their dialogue with leadership of ASUP/COEASU now.
“MASSOB demands that polytechnics and colleges of education shall be re-opened next month (June 2014) for academic activities. The future of our youths is bleak without education. No nature gambles with the education of her youths,” the statement said.
MASSOB also condemned the police disruption of the peaceful protest of the students of the polytechnics and colleges of education on Wednesday in Lagos.
“The students are not happy with the government. Some Nigeria policemen are primitive in the discharge of their duties. Tear gas and live bullets are not to be applied against the students,” Madu said.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, and Colleges of Education and Academic Staff Union, COEASU, have been on eight-month and six-month strike respectively.