Tuesday 31 May 2016

ERC Condemns Fuel Price Hike Protest's Call-off by NANS Zone D

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Branch
                                PRESS STATEMENT


It would be recalled that a congress was convened by the Nans Zone D on May 16, 2016 where south west students gathered to deliberate on the recent anti-masses position taken by the Federal Government on the removal of the fuel subsidy. The congress was welcomed by the students with the intention that it would provide an avenue for students to make their positions known on the current economic challenges of the country. This position of calling for a congress by the leadership was borne out of the Zone’s claim to be the ideological and radical zone of the umbrella body of NANS. The agenda of the congress which captured not only the question of subsidy removal but also was extended to the deliberation on campus crises review, state of the nation amongst other pressing issues. We wish to point it clear that the resolution of the congress on the removal of the subsidy is the total reversal of the N145 announced by the federal government to the status quo of N86.50k.

We are neither surprised by the overnight compromise on the resolution of the congress by the leadership of NANS Zone D. It is not only safe but safer to conclude that NANS ZONE D has further justified our position on NANS being a degenerated platform that can no longer represent the genuine interest of Nigerian Students. This action likewise is an insult on the intellectuality of Nigerian students.

Giving a clarity on the unprincipled division within the ZONE D also, it was obvious that the platform has sold the interest of Nigerian students for pecuniary gains, the Coordinator- Ogunsola Okikiola, the General Secretary- Oloja Olanrewaju, the Public Relations Officer (PRO)- Awowole Samuel (AWO SAM) are the principal betrayers in this regard. The other executives of the Zone especially the Deputy coordinator in person of Afolabi Saheed (Seedorf) kicked against the Zone D leadership position by stating clearly that the congressional resolution on resistance to the fuel price hike must still be implemented. This was practicalized by calling and embarking on a protest in Ile-Ife, Osun State on 24th of May, 2016 (Tuesday). The Deputy Coordinator by this action claimed to be a respecter of the congress of the students. But to our utmost discontent, after the protest, the position was on the contrary by settling for palliative measures; a conditional acceptance of the increase in fuel price. In this manner, it reveals that the entire Zone D has totally reneged on the resolution of the congress and capitulated to the side of the Federal Government. This action must be condemned by all Nigerian students especially the south west students because the question of considering palliative measures was never part of resolution of the congress. It is therefore treacherous, that the leadership which claims to resist to the last the policy of the Federal Government has absolutely conceded to the position of the Federal Government.

It is our stance that no amount of palliative measures will cushion the colossal negative effects of the subsidy removal. This is not the first time in the history of the country that the argument of palliative measures would be adduced. Subsidy and Reinvestment Empowerment Program (SURE-P) introduced by Goodluck Jonathan administration was just an example of the treachery and ineffectiveness of this hollow phrase of palliative measures. Stating the obvious, the Buhari administration cannot demonstrate any fundamental difference from his predecessor-Goodluck Jonathan since they both operate the same economic system of capitalism.

Once again, the ERC condemns, in strong polemics this anti-students’ position of NANS ZONE D LEADERSHIP. We hereby call on all Students’ Unions comprising of Southwest Zone not only to dissociate themselves from this perfidy but likewise join forces with the ERC to practically oppose the increase in fuel price and all other anti-students’ policies of the ruling parties, while calling for the building of more functioning refineries and for the nationalization of the oil sector, power sector and other commanding heights of the economy under the democratic control and management by the working people.


Adabale Olamide (Coordinator)

Omole Ibukun (Secretary)

Thursday 12 May 2016



The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) considers the decision of the Buhari-led federal government to hike fuel price to N145 per litre as a brazen and cruel assault on working people, students, youths and poor masses. This increase in fuel price together with the 45 percent increase in electricity tariff must be fought to a standstill.

The decision to hike fuel price is another example of how the Buhari government, despite its grandstanding, panders to the interests of the rich. Just like the hike in electricity tariff, the reason for this increase is to protect the investment and profit of oil marketers and other shylocks in the downstream sector.

We reject the notion that there is no other way to resolve the crisis in the oil sector other than periodic increases in price which further increases the yoke under which workers, students and poor people groan. Of course there is another way. That is the way of putting the oil sector under public ownership and democratic control, expelling the IOCs, oil majors, marketers and other profit interest from the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry, government to take up the tasks of oil production, export and refining so that our oil industry can serve the interests of ordinary Nigerians instead of the interest of the rich it has been serving since 1956.

No doubt, this decision if allowed to stay will make life harder for ordinary Nigerians who have been paying through their noses for months now to procure fuel for their vehicles and generators. At a period when the working masses are suffering from crippling socio-economic crises and rising inflation which have led to increases in cost of food, commodities and services, this hike will further push millions to the very margins of existence.

Already the scarcity of petroleum products coupled with the collapse of electricity supply has adversely affected public education. It is an indisputable fact that for almost one year now since Buhari took over, lecturers have been spending more hours on queues at filling stations than in classes while students spend more time at bus stops waiting for buses or in traffic which invariably mean that they often get late to lectures. The consequential unofficial rise in cost fuel as well as rise in transport costs have also led to a situation whereby many lecturers and students are forced to prioritize which lectures to attend in order to minimize cost. Besides, the recent protests on some campuses over poor welfare conditions and their subsequent closure by managements were not unconnected with fuel crisis and  poor power supply.

It is our contention in the ERC that the new hike in fuel price will further disrupt public education, adversely affect students especially as students will now have to pay higher bus fares to go to school and back.  Books, laboratory materials and others will become more expensive. This will put overwhelming pressure on working class parents whose income has been eroded by inflation. Also the hike in fuel prices can lead to a new wave of fee hikes in Universities, Polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education. Higher fuel prices often lead to higher energy costs for schools and higher costs of goods and services including those services that Universities and other education institutions require to function. Following the January 2012 hike in fuel prices, a wave of fee hike hit the Universities and other higher educational institutions. The justification of administrators of higher institutions for these fee increases was that their bill had increased as a result of higher costs of goods and services.

For all of these reasons and more, Nigerian students must not accept the hike in fuel price. They should convert the campuses into theatres of popular resistance until the government listens to the voice of the people. We will join the labour movement and civil society to shutdown the entire country through strikes, protests and demonstrations until the government reverses the hike.

The ERC calls on all students unions to immediately convene congresses of students with a view to democratically agree on ways and manners to pursue the resistance against this anti-poor hike in fuel price including other policies affecting students rights to education on campuses. The ERC suggests that students on campuses should begin to boycott classes and organize peaceful protests and demonstrations at the gates of their campuses starting from Monday 16 May 2016. Where possible, these protests and other actions should be organized in conjunction with staff unions and other willing progressive forces.

As we prepare to go back to the barricades, we are not oblivious of the fact that the leadership of organized labour stabbed the working masses in the back by betraying the January 2012 general strike and mass protest against fuel hike even while the working masses were willing to fight for total reversal. The major reasons this happened was because on one hand the labour leadership had no political alternative to the capitalist status quo and were therefore fearful of continuing the strike a day longer while on the other hand, the power to call on and off the general strike and mass protest was left in their hands.

To prevent this from happening again, activists must work harder and tirelessly this time around to entrench our resistance in the workplace, communities and campuses such that no labour leader can call the action off from Abuja. We must also be prepared not to budge from the barricade until our demands are fully met. More crucial is the need for a working people’s political alternative that can rescue Nigeria from the grip of the capitalist locusts to emerge from the protest.

 Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                            Michael Ogundele                          
National Coordinator (07033697259)                 National Secretary

Thursday 5 May 2016


We call on ASUU and other Unions to Speak out against the Monumental injustice going on at the University of Lagos

Press statement
 The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) asks Nigerians to hold the authorities of the University of Lagos responsible for the impending mass failure in the University. This is because the University is forcing students to start examinations on the 9th of May 2016 while lectures and test are still being held. This invariably means that students would be going into the examination without the mandatory one week lecture and test free week required for adequate preparation. The ERC condemns this and demands a postponement of examinations so that students can prepare adequately.

When the University was closed down on Friday 8th April 2016 following a students’ protest over poor welfare conditions, students were given just 4 hours to vacate the campus even as armed police men encircled the University. As a result many went home without their books.

Asking those same students who just resumed on May 2nd to start examinations on May 9 even while many lecturers are yet to conclude lectures is insensitive, callous and a recipe for mass failure. This is aside the fact that since May 3rd, many students are still busy signing and submitting undertaking forms in order to satisfy the undemocratic and despotic conditions imposed by the management for re-opening the University.

The public would recall that the University of Lagos was closed down on Friday 8th April 2016 by the authorities following students’ protests against poor welfare conditions and high cost of food items and other commodities on campus. One of the key grievances of students was the epileptic power supply on campus worsened by the failure of the University to account for 2 additional generators which if provided could, together with the 2 existing generators, guarantee nearly 60 percent electricity supply during period of outage from the distribution companies.

Up till now, none of these problems have been addressed by the University. In a bulletin asking students to resume, the University only promised electricity supply between the hours of 7pm and 7am. On water supply, the University is providing no palliatives. The issue of high cost of food and commodities remain thus further compounding students’ distress especially in the given situation where there would be no light for cooking in the day time and they would have to eat out. These are the terrible conditions under which students are being rushed to write examinations.

If the UNILAG management was sensitive and responsible, it would have postponed examinations for at least 2 weeks to give ample time for students to settle in and for lectures and tests to be concluded. Unfortunately, UNILAG, like other Universities, is being managed by sadistic and despotic officials who revel in the misfortune of students and staff.

We urge the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other staff unions not to sit by and watch the University of Lagos do this to students. ASUU especially has often spoken out against injustice in the University system. This is one injustice too many in the University of Lagos and it deserves ASUU’s public condemnation. Already the same management has suspended the Students Union, dissolved the union executives and evicted them from hostels all because they dared to lead other students to challenge authorities’ anti-students policy. We call on ASUU, other staff unions, the labour movement and the general public to prevail on the management of the University of Lagos to postpone examinations and utilize the intervening period to address all the issues, especially that of poor welfare conditions, that precipitated the protest of April 6 and 7.

 Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                                                    
National Coordinator (07033697259)                

Michael Ogundele
National Secretary