Students of Kaduna State College of Education at Gidan Waye, Jema’a Local Government Area of the State, occupied the roads leading to the higher institution of learning to protest astronomic hike in school fees. The El-Rufai led state government ordered mass repression of the peacefully protesting students.
While affecting the criminal order, the Nigeria Police have killed at least one student. We gathered that some students are currently receiving treatments for gunshot wounds while many have been arrested. The figures are unknown at the moment. Socialist Workers and Youth League (SWL) condemns this appalling attack in the strongest possible terms.
The violent attack on protesting students bears similarity with characteristics of the Maj. Gen (Rtd) Buhari-led regime, which has in thought and deed criminalized protests. A total descent into authoritarianism and a frontal assault on democratic rights is now the order of the day. Apparently, these elements will do everything to defend the bosses’ system and their class interest to the detriment of poor workers and youth.
The hike in school fees is totally unnecessary and unjustifiable. Kaduna State has one of the highest rates of out-of-school children and should be committed to making public education available to as many people as possible. The new school fees increment will only make a bad situation worse.
Also, Kaduna state has become a haven for armed kidnappers and bandits who have laid siege on the education system, and the state governor appears helpless in the face of criminal assaults on the people. The El-Rufai led state government has failed to improve the quality of education. It has also failed to guarantee the safety and protection of students in the state.
This is yet another insensitive act of the Kaduna State Government. It is an attempt to make education unaffordable and inaccessible to the children and wards of poor working-class people in the state. The school fees increment is connected and, as a matter of fact, a continuation of the El-Rufai government’s anti-people policies. We must recall that, in the last 6 years of El-Rufai rule, well over thirty thousand workers have been laid off. Many of whom are denied their earned and terminal benefits. Meanwhile, the state governor and his cronies have spent billions from the state’s coffers to maintain their luxurious living.
That led to the recent 4-day NLC strike in the state. We call on the state councils of NLC and TUC, rank and file workers, and the labour movement as a whole to stand in solidarity with the protesting students. Students and workers share common class enemies. We equally share the common struggle for a just and egalitarian world. Now is the time for us to take a stand. An injury to one is an injury to all!
We thus demand:
- Justice for the Slain and wounded students,
- Immediate and unconditional release of all arrested students,
- A total reversal of the fees hike,
- Immediate payment of workers wages and earned benefits,
- Decisive actions to end insecurity and the siege on the education sector in the state must be taken, and these must involve the workers and students.