The Department of State Services (DSS) has been forewarned not to prevent students from exercising their freedom to protest because this is a widely acknowledged human right, according to the National Association of Nigerian Students.
Giwa Temitope, the union’s national public relations officer, responded to the DSS’s claim that some politicians were organising student leaders for violent protest against the Federal Government over socioeconomic issues.
“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.
Recall that last week that a student group, Student Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike, had said it would commence a protest against fee hike at the University of Lagos on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
Backing the move, the NANS PRO in a statement made available on Tuesday said the student body would be storming UNILAG for the protest, asking the DSS not to infringe on the rights of students.
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.”