Immediate Press Release:

CSYR Condemns Government Inaction and Insensitivity Leading to Tragic Loss of Student Lives

*No one deserves to die for a bowl of rice in a country flowing with Milk and Honey.



The Campaign for Students and Youths Rights (CSYR) mourns the tragic demise of the two students from Nasarawa State University, Keffi, who lost their lives in a stampede while vying for rice and money intended as palliatives by the state government.

While this is disheartening, it reflects the general economic crises that students, as well as working people, have been facing under the Tinubu-led regime since it assumed office. In less than a year, we have seen a drastic surge in the cost of living as well as food insecurity; commodities are no longer within the purchasing power of the working people, and virtually all aspects of the economy keep getting worse. 

Yet, the government have shown they are only ready to serve big businesses or make more profit, regardless of how many untimely deaths are recorded by their superficial schemes, policies, or programs— just as seven people died in a stampede while trying to buy cheap rice in Lagos at the National Customs Warehouse. How long should Nigerians keep dying from the very basic necessities of life? It is sad that in a country with abundant resources, the poverty rate and hardship remain alarming.

These outrageous policies, such as the commercialisation of education and the introduction of deceptive student loan schemes, have worsened the plight of students and working-class families, driving many out of school due to financial constraints. It is evident from the incident in Nasarawa that students are forced to confront double jeopardy. On the one hand, they are faced with the intense hardship of hunger; on the other hand, they are faced with the high cost of tuition fees despite the abysmal state of the minimum wage. Unfortunately, student unionism has been pinned down to the point where it only serves as the mouthpiece of the management or becomes an instrument of the state.

Yet, it sums up one thing: we must organise. Students must start by condemning the Student Loan Act and pressure the government to guarantee free education at all levels. The notion that the nation lacks the resources to fund education is a fallacy; the government’s wasteful spending and widespread corruption demonstrate otherwise. We advocate for a significant reduction in government expenditures, including aligning political office salaries with those of average workers. The funds thus saved can be redirected to adequately fund public education nationwide.

The Nigerian government must be held accountable for the many lives lost. It has further pushed many into the grave by its heartless neo-liberal policies that favour the few over the majority: from the hike in fuel price (removal of the fuel subsidy), devaluation of the naira, education commercialisation, privatisation, and more and more people from working-class backgrounds are pushed deeper into the abyss of poverty— facing much heavily the brunt of these degenerated economic crises.

We unequivocally state that Nigerians— students, youths, and workers— must go beyond the mere distribution of palliatives as a remedy/relief to demand the nationalisation of the commanding height of the economy under democratic workers’ control. These recurring cases of untimely death should be a volta for students and working people to mobilise themselves, demand justice, and organise towards a complete overthrow of a system such as capitalism that even makes profit out of one’s death.

We urge the Nigerian proletariat to mobilise and assert their class interests by demanding the reinstatement of fuel prices to their pre-May 29, 2023 levels. Moreover, we call for the nationalisation of the oil sector, placing it under the democratic management and control of the working class. This ensures that the means of production, particularly in a critical sector like oil, are owned collectively by the working masses, rather than being exploited for the benefit of a bourgeois minority.

Furthermore, we call for the reversal of all fee hikes, recognising that education is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all members of society, regardless of class background. The capitalist system perpetuates inequalities by commodifying education and placing financial barriers that hinder the working class from accessing quality education. Therefore, we demand a properly funded education system at all levels, where resources are allocated based on societal needs rather than profit motives. By organising and mobilising for these demands, the working class can challenge the capitalist control and strive towards a society where the means of production are collectively owned and controlled and social services like education are accessible to all, irrespective of socioeconomic status.