The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has warned the Department of State Services against restricting the students’ right to protest, as this is universally recognized as a fundamental human right.
In response to the DSS’s claims that politicians were inciting student leaders to engage in violent protests against the Federal Government regarding socioeconomic issues, Giwa Temitope, the national public relations officer of the union, expressed their disagreement.
“Intelligence reports have indicated that the plotters include certain politicians who are desperately mobilising unsuspecting student leaders, ethnic-based associations, youth, and disgruntled groups for the planned action,” the spokesperson for the security agency, Peter Afunanya, had said on Monday.
Last week, the Student Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike announced their intention to protest against the fee hike at the University of Lagos on September 6, 2023.
In support of this cause, NANS PRO released a statement on Tuesday stating that the student body would be joining the protest at UNILAG and urged the DSS to respect the rights of the students and not interfere.
Giwa said, “It is quite embarrassing that the DSS has derailed to become the propaganda arm of the Federal Government thereby raising false alarms and even interfering in affairs that do not in anyway relate to their line of profession.
“As an association, we maintain that we are not satisfied with how the Nigerian society is being run most especially as regards arbitrary fee increment across our tertiary institutions, with the University of Lagos being a model.”
NANS said the failure of the UNILAG management to honour the agreement reached at the meeting with student leaders on August 2 had “forced the student body to fix a date of action at the university for September 6 and the protest shall hold till the management reverses the hike.”
The UNILAG management in July 2023 increased fees from N19,000 to N190,250 for students studying medicine while for courses that require laboratory and studio, the students were to pay N140,250.
The management cited “prevailing economic realities” as reason for the hike.
Stating further, Giwa said, “Students are therefore enjoined to come out en masse and join the protest for the immediate reversal of fee at the University of Lagos.”