Nigerian public universities might lose a session as there seems to be no end in sight to the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which is now seven-month-old.
Recall, that the ongoing ASUU strike which has grounded academic activities in public varsities in the country started on February 14, 2022, and entered the seventh month yesterday, September 14, 2022.
The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
The government had claimed to have addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.
ASUU has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.
As the strike lingers, the fate of students seeking admission into the nation’s universities remains unknown as two new sets await the resumption of academic activities.
The first set of students, whose admission processes were concluded last year, are unable to resume, while another set of students sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) this year.
With the development, two sets of new students, 2021 and 2022 are waiting to resume.
A lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) who spoke in an interview said most universities have two sets of students ready to resume the academic session. T
“Those admitted in 2021 were meant to resume after the second-semester examination early this year but were halted due to the strike. Now, another set of students sat for UTME this year, waiting for admission processes.
“You know universities have been trying hard to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown, during which schools were shut, and now we have this prolonged ASUU strike. I really don’t know how this would be handled,” the lecturer, who pleaded anonymity, said.
Meanwhile, the federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has dragged the striking university lecturers before the National Industrial Court (NIC).
However, Justice Polycap Hamman, on Monday, September 12, 2022, adjourned the matter to enable both the Federal Government to file the necessary papers for the suit.