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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Nigerian students cry as ASUU strike enters 100 days, some universities mull pull out

Nigerian students have lamented the ongoing industrial action embarked by their lecturers under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that reached 100 days today.

ASUU on February 14, 2022 issued a month warning strike which was extendend by eight weeks and at its expiration on May 9, another twelve weeks was added claiming that the government refused to accede to its demands.

According to the union, the major demand is the implementation of 2009 agreement, some other demands are Earned Academic Allowances, renegotiation of the 2009 agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) among others.

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While the strike lingers, the Federal Government invoked “No Work, No Pay” policy on the striking varsity lecturers in order force them back to class.

The FG in a statement made by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige claimed the action of the union is amounted to “false leave” and a declaration of forced holidays for students. Thus, the union should be reminded that the government was not “Father Xmas.”

However, ASUU alongside other striking varsity workers; Senior Academic Staff of Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institution (NASU), and National Association of Academic Technologists President of (NAAT) fired back at the government, saying “No Pay, No Work.”

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Nigerian students who have been mostly affected by the industrial strike angered by the nonchalant attitude of both parties took to the street and block major highways.

The students through Asefon Sunday, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), also threatened to disrupt presidential primary elections if the issue remained unsolved.

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This then forced President Muhammadu Buhari to directly negotiate with the unions in a meeting chaired by the Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari which had had in attendance the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle.

The meeting was claimed to be fruitful according to the Minister of Labour, but the ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke countered the claim, saying there was nothing new in the meeting except that the government team wanted them to call off the strike for a period of time which they rejected.

However, in the latest development toward ending the strikes, the government has been said to have commenced the payment of arrears owed to the striking lecturers.

Responding to the development, the unions said the effort of the government is unsolicited and that will not lure them to call of the strike.

Meanwhile, as the strike lingers, some universities have began to back off as students and staff are being ordered to return back to school.

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Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) on May 19, 2022 directed its students and staff to resume on Monday May 26, 2022 for the continuation of academic activities. However, the school lecturers who are members of the ASUU have said that there won’t go to class even if the students resume.

Similarly, Osun State University (UNIOSUN) had resumed its academic activities for rain semester on May 16, 2022. The lecturers in the school are said to be under ASUU suspension as such there is no reason to join the ongoing strike.

The Ekiti State University in Ado-Ekiti (EKSU) has equally announced that academic activities would resume on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. The varsity management claimed it concerned was about the pains experienced by students and parents.

Likewise, the management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, has directed its students to resume to campus despite ASUU strike. Thursday, May 26, 2022 was fixed  Thursday, fixed for resumption by the school Senate.

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