Nigeria: Academics, Cleric, CSOs Seek Reopening of Universities, Kidnap Victims’ Release

Speakers at a one-day roundtable on national issues in Abuja, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to ensure the reopening of universities as well as the release of all kidnap victims in order to reduce the growing tension in the country.

The event was organised by the Development Specs Academy under the leadership of a former Director in the Federal Ministry of Information, Dr. Okey Ikechukwu.

Some other speakers at the occasion included Rev.Fr. George Ehusani, Prof Jim Unah, Dr. Amaechi Anakwue, Prof. Christopher Ogbogbo, Dr. Amara Albert, Dr. Hyeladi Haruna and a former spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier Sani Usman (retd.), among others.

Participants were drawn from the civil society communities, youth-based organisations, youths in politics and social media influencers among others.

The forum frowned at the continued closure of the Nigerian public universities and noted that the country could have a looming crisis if they were not reopened forthwith.

Speaking on the topic titled, “State of the nation,” Ehusani, a former secretary of the Catholic Secretariat in Nigeria, said the security situation in the country could be worsened if the able-bodied and highly energetic youths are continuously kept idle outside their schools.

He, therefore advised the federal government team negotiating with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to conclude their works and accede to the lecturers’ requests.

Speaking on the topic, “The youth crises,” Ogbogbo, a professor of history, urged the undergraduates in the nation’s public universities to embark on intellectual protest to support their striking lecturers to end the ongoing industrial action.

He said, “Youths can put their intellect into use, in confronting their problems. Angels won’t fall from heaven to help them. The youths have the responsibility to change the current system which is not in their favour.

“They are not expected to go on rampage destroying public infrastructure but to intellectually engage the leadership in an organised and peaceful protest that would achieve positive results.”

The former Army spokesperson, Usman described as unacceptable, the inability of the Nigerian government to ensure the release of its citizens still being held in captivities by terrorist from 2014 till date.

He said, “Government should intensify efforts to ensure that all those in captivities are not left behind, it should make it a priority, to release the Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu, the March 29 Kaduna kidnap victims and others.

“Government should be proactive in information dissemination about what it is doing concerning those in captivity in various parts of the country.”

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