Following the presentation of the 2018 budget by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate, the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) has rejected the seven per cent allocated to education.
The student body, however, has given the Federal Government and regulating authorities 14 days ultimatum to revisit the budget.
A statement made available to Nigerian Tribune and signed by the Public Relation Officer of the body, Ijaduoye Olasunkanmi, stated that the seven per cent allocation is a far cry to the 26 per cent recommended by the United Nations.
“The proposal presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday, the President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04 per cent of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget to the education. The total sum allocated to the education sector is N605.8 billion with N435.1 billion for recurrent expenditure, 61.73 billion for capital expenditure and N109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission. The allocation is lower than the 7.4 per cent the government gave the education sector in the N7.4 trillion 2017 budget.
“This decrease, apart from expanding the gap with respect to the UN recommendation, is also in spite of the government committing to increase spending on education following a strike from August 13 by the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) that forced Nigerian universities to shut down until the strike was called off on September 18.
“This is unfair to our generation. It is totally unacceptable and NAPS hereby give the Federal Government and all Authorities involved a 14-day ultimatum to revisit the budget or face the anger of Nigerian students across the country.
“If the older generation has enjoyed free and accessible education during their time, it is going to be a crime for us who are the future generation of Nigeria to suffer and be faced with poor infrastructure, poor education facilities and an incessant strike by our lecturers. This was not the intentions of our forefathers and we will continue to engage the government constructively to achieve the Nigeria of our own,” it read.
The statement also included that “The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), is currently threatening to embark on an indefinite strike of its own on Monday, November 13, unless the federal government pays its 2016 shortfalls and all outstanding arrears.
“Let it be known that where we do not teach our children how to get results through the pen, they would resort to the violent and all-damaging use of guns. This year alone, virtually all levels of education have experienced strike actions to the detriment of the students. Unity schools are just heading out of a long time industrial action, just like universities and we can bet our lives on it that polytechnic teachers are not comfortable with the lackadaisical poise of the federal government towards the implementation of the previous agreements. They are warming up for a strike action soon.
“Quality education is our right and not a privilege. It beats our imagination to learn how much Nigerians are forced to pay to get a qualitative education outside the shores of the country – over 60 billion dollars per year at the detriment of our comatose education sector. The children of the affluent can afford to flee the country, but the children of the masses; who are forced to live within the minimum wage of N18,000 are disadvantaged. These children would not just serve as liabilities to the nation but their incompetence would stunt economic growth,” it read.