ASUU strike: Army harassment’ll provoke total shutdown, says group

A group that has been at the forefront of the students’ protests across Nigeria, the Fund Education Coalition, has talked tough over the harassment of soldiers on students protesting the lingering strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

YOMSDIRECT MEDIA had reported earlier Tuesday that soldiers had stormed the scene of protesting students in Ondo State to disperse them, during which gunshots were heard in the video obtained by our correspondent.

Reacting later Tuesday, in a statement signed by the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the coalition, Babatimehin Asiwaju, the group said, “Our attention has been drawn to a report circulating online wherein personnel of the Nigerian Army could be seen harassing and shooting sporadically in a bid to disperse peaceful protesting students in Ondo state today.

“The protesters who are a coalition of all students in Ondo state can be seen scampering for safety while some in the process sustained injuries.

“For us at Fund Education Coalition, we find this disturbing and particularly appalling that soldiers, who by virtue of the law, only have business with defending the territorial integrity of the country and barred from operating in the civil arena, are seen brutalising aggrieved students who were simply demonstrating their civil rights to freedom of assembly.

“We condemn this act and warn the state government to immediately swing into action and ensure there is no repeat of this ugly menace.

“We clearly understand the language with which the government, the principal element using the armed men to physically brutalise students – is speaking to Nigerian students. It is a message of ‘do your worst. It is indeed the language of a bully. However, we are not a punching bag that does retain jabs without retaliation, we will surely respond in the language they understand – a mass movement to totally shut down all economic activities in the country.

“To the dogged Nigerian students in Ondo State and all across the country, who have stood their ground against the 94 days shutdown of universities, we rain a flood of solidarity greetings on you and urge that we remain indefatigable in the #EndASUUStrike struggle. This is a fight to the finish and indeed, it is a duty history has placed on us that we must not avoid, no matter the consequences.”

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