Police disperse NANS protest over sacked VCs
Protesting members of the National Association of Nigerian Students were on Thursday dispersed by a team of Policemen around the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
The protesting students had gathered at the entrance of the Federal Ministry of Education to protest the recent sack of Vice-chancellors of 13 Federal Universities appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The body argued that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, erred in the appointment of new vice-chancellors, adding that the action of the minister was interference on the duties of universities governing councils.
The students carried placards with inscriptions such as: “ASUU break the silence against this injustice.” “Sack of VCs, an attempt to cripple our citadels.” Say no to injustice,” among others.
They said: “On February 12, 2016, the Federal Government, without due recourse to the governing councils of 12 Federal Universities and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), removed their vice-chancellors without any clear statement as to what their offences might have been.
Shehu said: “What is the reason for the sacking of the four vice-chancellors of Federal Universities and that of NOUN before the expiration of their tenures?
“We request that the Federal Government, should in the interest of due process, reverse its decision and reinstate the illegally sacked vice-chancellors.”
He said that the association notified all relevant agencies including the minister of its planned protest. They wondered why the minister could not come to address them.
The NANS president accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of complicity in the sack of the VCs because of as its silent on the issue.
However, trouble started when the students smashed the windscreen of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) with registration number FG 23 A31, belonging the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as it drove by.
The students chanted angrily, threatening to force their way into the ministry if the minister did not come out to address them.
All efforts by the policemen to ensure that the protesting students retreated were resisted. A situation which resulted in the firing of tear gas at them by the police.
Journalists, bystanders and the protesting students scampered for safety while the policemen made arrests.
The NANS President, Mr. Tijani Shehu, and no fewer than five other students, were arrested.
The Policemen also manhandled a camera man working with the African Independent Television (AIT) and smashed his camera.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, FCT Command, Anjuguri Manza, (ASP) when contacted on the development said that he was yet to be briefed on the issue.