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15 Aug 2017

Parents and Students Express Anguish as ASUU Grounds 40 Federal & 44 State Universities

The strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has left parents and students lamenting.
ASUU strike
The industrial action embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has grounded activities in about 40 and 44 federal/state universities. The industrial action has left students and parents crying while venting their anger at the government.

ASUU’s leadership insisted that the strike was total, comprehensive and indefinite and also threatened to sanction any institution that would defy the strike order to conduct lectures, examinations or any nocturnal meetings for the period the action would last.

The strike followed the outcome of the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held by ASUU’s leadership and state chairmen on Saturday in the FCT, Abuja.

The meeting culminated in the official announcement of the strike at the headquarters of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Abuja, yesterday.

Speaking while declaring the indefinite strike at a press conference, National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the action became necessary due to breach of the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, for the 2009 FG/ASUU Agreement on financing of state universities; breach of conditions of service; refusal of government to honour the Earned Academic Allowance, EAA, and re-negotiation of the agreement.

Ogunyemi said the 2009 agreement revolved around conditions of service, funding, university autonomy and academic freedom, all of which government had been lackadaisical in implementing.
According to Vanguard, a parent, Mrs. Dorcas Ilumuonya, whose daughter is a 200 Level student of Psychology, lamented the situation.

She said: “This is very disheartening, when one is thinking about the future of the children and counting when they will graduate, another indefinite strike will delay them and cause stress on the students and untold hardship on the parents.

“I am pleading that if there is anything that the federal government, ASUU and other stakeholders can do to avert this calamity, it should be done quickly so that we do not go back to the past inglorious days in the education sub-sector.”

However, a student of the University of Jos, Nathan Mangut, who said he had a paper to write today, said: “We have been hearing about this in the university in those days, but we thought by now, things would have changed.

‘’A situation where one spends donkey years for a four-year course should have been over by now but it is sad that it is still the same old story.

“I pray UniJos should pity us and allow us complete the semester since we have already written over 70% of our papers. Some people are in their first semester, while some are in second. If our local branch here should see reasons to allow us round off our respective semesters before joining the strike, it would be okay.’’

In his reaction, Dr. John Ugwuanyi, a lecturer from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said though the national body had declared an indefinite strike, they had not received further information from the local body in UNN.

He said: “The major cause of the strike is underfunding of universities by the federal government. It has to do with the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement. ASUU demands have not been met.”

A parent, Mrs. Osaretin Akhigbe, said: “No strikes are welcome at this time, especially in the education sector. Government should urgently look into their demands.

‘’Besides, that sector is in a bad shape and needs total overhauling and any action that would further deteriorate the already deplorable state is far from welcome.’’

Another parent, who declined to have his name in print, said: “Why wouldn’t the union members go on strike when our President has been away for over three months? I doubt if any reasonable decision can be reached or taken in Mr. President’s absence.”

For Miss Tare Adefe, the issue remains the same and the solutions never seem to be achieved.

She said:  “The average Nigerian has become so abused by the conditions we find ourselves.  We just seem to turn deaf ears to events and occurrences as they unfold.

“The country is in crisis. Daily, we hear of the fight against corruption and the unimaginable amounts of money being retrieved from persons who were supposed to serve the people but ended up serving themselves and their pockets.

“These recovered loots could have solved a number of issues in various sectors of the economy but we never hear anything afterwards.

“It’s a sad situation we find ourselves in and truth be told, there is hardly any faith left in this country we call our own.’’

Miracle Ndubuisi, a 300 level student of Chukwuemeka Odimegwu University, said: “The strike will affect students a lot, especially those currently in final year. ASUU might be suffering a lot in the hands of the government but they should please consider the academic progress of students and call off the strike.”

Another concerned student, Joseph Oso, said:  “The news simply will affect educational activities that should be carried out. The strike will bring about fear in the minds of students, thereby delaying academic works, examination and other academic activities. I urge the federal government to comply with the demands of ASUU so as to allow students go back to school and continue their academic activities.”

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