Nigerian Student Body Suspends Nationwide Protest Amid Government Dialogue Prospects

Nigerian Student Body Suspends Nationwide Protest Amid Government Dialogue Prospects

By Amforgod J. Olisa

In response to the prevailing fuel scarcity and inadequate electricity supply plaguing Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has announced the temporary suspension of its planned nationwide protest, initially slated for Tuesday, May 7. Opting for a path of dialogue over confrontation, the student body expressed willingness to engage with relevant government authorities following appeals for a roundtable discussion to address the pressing issues at hand.

The decision to shelve the protest was disclosed in a statement released on Sunday, jointly signed by NANS Senate President Akinteye Afeez and five zonal coordinators, including Bilal Lawal Kurfi (Zone A, Northwest), Daniel Friday Egga (Zone C, North Central), Alao John (Zone D, Southwest), Chidi Nzekwe (Zone F, Southeast), and Bappa Hassan Adam (Zone E, Northeast).

Previously, NANS had demanded the immediate removal of the Minister of Power, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Melee Kyari, attributing the ongoing hardships faced by Nigerians to the current petroleum and power supply crises. The association had also identified key highways across the country for simultaneous protests.

However, the decision to suspend the protest came after the government reached out to NANS, expressing willingness to initiate dialogue and offering assurances of measures to alleviate the fuel scarcity crisis. Additionally, promises were made regarding improvements in electricity supply by the end of the following week.

In their statement, NANS emphasized their role as a pressure group committed to holding government officials accountable, rather than driven by personal animosity towards the implicated officials. Recognizing the importance of transparency and accountability in governance, the student leaders underscored their responsibility to seek constructive means of addressing national challenges.

While the initial call for protest stemmed from frustration and urgency, NANS highlighted the potential for meaningful change through dialogue. By engaging in discussions with government officials, stakeholders, and relevant parties, the student body aims to explore sustainable solutions addressing the root causes of the crises in the petroleum and power sectors.

The decision to suspend mobilization towards a national protest underscores NANS’ commitment to pursuing positive change through constructive engagement. However, the association remains vigilant and asserts its readiness to resume advocacy efforts should substantial progress not materialize promptly.

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