Education

ASUU Strike: We Are Stranded!-University Students Lament.

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University students across the country, whose
lecturers are on strike to press government to
meet their demands, are facing the reality that
they may have to stay longer at home than they
had envisaged.
By tomorrow (Monday), it will be 18 days since
the strike commenced.
When the industrial action commenced on April
13, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu
Adamu, had assured that it may end in two days,
thus raising the hope of the students’ early
return to classrooms. But that was not to be.
Meanwhile, representatives of the lecturers under
the auspices of the Academic Union of
Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government
team were to have met last Tuesday but the
union boycotted the meeting called by the
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige,
who was then leader of government negotiation
team.
Vice President
Yemi Osinbajo has
since taken over
the leadership of
the government
negotiating team.
Explaining why it
boycotted the
meeting, the union
said in a
statement,
“Members of
Academic Staff
Union of
Universities, ASUU, were forced to proceed on
indefinite, comprehensive and total strike on
Sunday, August 13, 2017, following government’s
failure to implement issues on which
understanding was reached during the suspended
warning strike of November 2016.
“We have since held talks with representatives of
government and consulted our members
nationwide on steps to be taken to immediately
resolve the lingering crisis. Among issues in the
dispute are registration of Nigerian Universities
Pension Management Company, NUPEMCO;
fractionalisation of salaries in federal universities
and gross under-funding /non-funding of state
universities, and arrears and implementation of
earned Academic Allowance.
“Other issues are release of funds for the
revitalisation of public universities as spelt out in
the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding,
guidelines for retirement benefits of professors in
line with 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, Treasury
Single Account, TSA, and withdrawal of support
for universities staff primary schools.
“On Thursday, we met with officials of the
Ministry of Education and Labour and
Employment where it was agreed that the union
should consult and revert to government.
“Following due consultations, we have collated
the views of our members on the offers from
government in dispute in the letter of August 16,
2017. These views were submitted to the federal
government vide our letter dated August 28,
2017.
“As we await the Federal Government’s action
on our letter, we hope that it would not be long
before we receive a positive response which will
bring an end to the dispute. “Meanwhile, we
thank all Nigerians, particularly our students
(and their parents) and the media for their
understanding so far in the need to speedily
address the issues in the best interest of the
Nigerian university system and for the overall
development of the country.”
The
National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun
Ogunyemi, had, while briefing journalists on the
commencement of the strike on April 14 in
Abuja, said, “Our members across the country
were getting increasingly frustrated, distracted
and disenchanted. It became evident that their
patience had been tasked beyond reasonable
limits and government’s insensitivity imposed
severe burden on the leadership of the union.
“Consequently, based on a nationwide
consultation with our members, an emergency
meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC)
of ASUU rose on Saturday, 12th August, 2017
with a resolution to embark on an indefinite
strike action starting from Sunday, 13th August
2017.
“The nationwide action is total and
comprehensive. During the strike there shall be
no teaching, no examination and no attendance
of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our
branch”.
He recalled that ASUU had to embark on a six
month strike between July and December 2013
and the strike was suspended when government
signed an MoU with the union.
“Of all the items contained in the MoU, only the
N200b out of a total of N1.3tr of the Public
Universities Revitalisation (Needs Assessment)
fund was released,. The union also embarked on
a one week warning strike in November 2016 to
press for the implementation of 2013 MoU.
However government did not implement the
understanding reach between the union and
Federal Government base on the intervention by
the leadership of Senate of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria.
“The union has also met with the 2009
Agreement Implementation Monitoring
Committee, IMC, and had written several letters
press releases and communiqués on the
outstanding issues to no avail. The National
Executive Council, NEC, of ASUU then met at the
University of Abuja on August 12, 2017 to
consider the result of a referendum from all
branches in a bid to ascertain ways of
convincing government to implement outstanding
aspects of the 2009 and the MoU of 2013”.
Ogunyemi listed the outstanding issues with the
Federal Government to include: payment of
fractions/non-payment of salaries; non-payment
of earned academic allowances, non releases of
operational license of NUPEMCO; non
implementation of the provisions of the 2014
pension reform act with respect to retired
professors and their salaries, removal of
universities staff schools from funding by
government and funds for the revitalisation of
public universities.
The ASUU President, last week, expressed his
union’s wiliness to resume talks with
government on the issues at stake.
High hopes
Whereas hopes are high that the government and
ASUU teams may resume talks this week,
university students affected by the strike are
feeling stranded because they do not know how
long they still need to stay at home while both
teams resolve the issues.
Some of the students who spoke to Sunday
Vanguard begged government and ASUU to take
their plight into consideration by ensuring the
early resolution of the industrial action.
Frustrating
Favour Yakie, a 400-level student of theatre arts
at the Niger Delta University, NDU, who claimed
to have been whirling away time by doing casual
work since the industrial action started,
described his situation as frustrating.
“I am about to graduate but would now wait.
Presently, I am working as a cleaner in a
pharmacy in Yenagoa”, the student, who spoke to
Sunday Vanguard in the Bayelsa State capital,
last week, said.
Ekiye Bridget
Ebikiseye, a
final year
theatre arts
student of
NDU, said,
“Though the
lecturers are of
the view that
the strike is to
get the
government to
improve the
nation
university
system and
enable it
compete
globally, it is
the students that are feeling the brunt of these
endless strike action. Ordinarily, I am in my final
year and should be concluding my programme
but only God knows when we will be through
with this because of the on-going strike.
“Some students that are looking forward to
securing scholarships such as the Schwazman
scholarship which is open to those graduating in
August 2018 might miss the opportunity if the
strike lingers.
“Presently, I am assisting my parents at home
and also using the opportunity to revise my
course work so as to keep myself busy.”
Blessing Konboye, a 500-level agriculture
student of NDU, told Sunday Vanguard: “I am
not doing anything, just helping my parents at
home and spending time visiting family and
friends.”
Mkpoisonke Umoette, a 200- level student of
English & Literary Studies, Akwa Ibom State
University, AKSU, while speaking on the strike,
said: “I am good in confectionary. So, instead of
idling away, I bake cakes for friends celebrating
birthdays and other occasions. So far, it has
been worth my while. However, I can’t wait for
ASUU to call off the strike.
I am missing school already. “FULUTU PHILIP, a
300-level student at the Biological Sciences
Department of NDU said, “It would have been
boring just staying at home. I am lucky that I
spend my time working at a computer firm
pending when the strike is called off.
The government
has failed the
nation, parents and
students at large.
We are the leaders
of tomorrow as the
saying goes but the
government doesn’t
see education as
priority. The strike
will no doubt affect
the school
calendar. Unless
the issues which
necessitated the
strike are urgently
resolved we may be
spending extra time at school with the burden
falling on our parents and sometimes some of
our colleagues who are sponsoring themselves.
I am pleading with the government to resolve the
situation as soon as possible to get students off
the streets. “Patrick Faotu, a final year student
at NDU Department of Fine and Applied Art,
stated: “It has been a trying moment for me.
Presently, I go about scouting for painting jobs
at construction sites so as to raise and save
money for my upkeep when we return to school
whenever the strike is called off.”
Lawrita Agbor, a 300 – level student at the
Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile-Ife, told Sunday Vanguard,
“Although my school did not join the strike
owing to our first semester examinations, since I
finished the examination, I have been engaged in
hair dressing. I am a hair stylist and I have been
keeping myself busy with it. As much as I would
feel the strike and pray we resume so that I can
complete my academic pursuit, I do not think I
would be idle at home while the industrial action
lasts”.
Aderibigbe Costly Abosede, a 500-level medical
student of Ladoke Akintola University of
Technology, Ogbomoso, said, “Being a LAUTECH
student at this time is traumatizing owing to the
fact that the present ASUU strike is nothing
compared to LAUTECH internal strike. As I
speak, LAUTECH students have spent 11 months
and few days at home as a result of the internal
strike. It is devastating.
“However, I have learnt to be in control of my
time and hence my life. Before the
commencement of the ASUU strike, I run an NGO
named Value Female Network with the
headquarters located in Osogbo, State of Osun.
So as soon as we were stopped from going for
hospital postings, I faced the NGO fully So, it’s
something that gives me joy knowing and seeing
that lives are being touched and affected
positively as a result of what I do”.
Ekenedilickukwu Fredrick, a100-level anatomy
student at Osun State University, Osogbo, said,
“The ASUU strike has affected me negatively.
The strike has forced our school to rush us into
writing our second semester examinations.
Since
the
ASUU
strike
monitoring team invaded our campus to enforce
compliance, we have been subjected to
excruciating exam stress and rigour to the extent
that most students now fear mass failure. I will
have to return home after my exams and find
something meaningful to engage myself with”.
Oluwatamilore Bode Are of the Faculty of
Education, University of Ibadan (UI) believed
anytime university lecturers want to embark on
strike, they should consider students because the
impact is more on them
She said, “I don’t like the way UI was closed
down. I advise government to meet ASUU
demands so that students are not kept at home
for too long.”
Oluwatamilore said she had started learning a
trade to avoid staying idle at home while the
strike lasts.
Ojo Aderemi of the History Department, Faculty
of Arts also of UI, described the ASUU strike as
unfortunate. But he said he could not put the
blame at the door steps of ASUU as government
had shirked its responsibility on the provision of
the facilities that will ensure smooth and
unhindered education.
“Though, the strike is wasting our time, I quite
understand the plight of ASUU. How would they
function well if they are not given the necessary
equipment to work with?, he said.
According to him, he was working on a
documentary project to make money while the
strike lingers.
Also speaking on the industrial action,
Oluwaseun David Are of the UI Faculty of
Agriculture described the strike as very tough.
“I am very glad that the committee that would
work out solution for the strike is headed by
Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is the Vice
President. He is a professor; therefore he should
know the yearnings of the lecturers. I believe he
would do the needful. Let them solve the problem
once and for all. As they address the issue with
ASUU, they should not leave that of NASU
untouched. So, that they too will not come back
tomorrow and declare strike. We will still be
back to square one”, he added.
Peter Adoga, a library and information science
student of Benue State University, BSU, said he
had taken a job at a drinking spot to wharf away
time.
“Though I also dedicate time to reading my
books, I am taking advantage of the time to keep
myself busy because I have nobody to pay my
tuition. Though it is painful that we may be
forced to spend more time in the school, it is
better to for me to ensure that it was not a
wasted time after all”, he told Sunday Vanguard.
“I must also point out that we never expected
BSU ASUU to join the strike given the earlier
agreement they reached with the Benue State
government on the matter some of us have taken
it in good fate and resolved to put out time to
good use while we await a peaceful resolution of
the matter”.
On her part,
Mrs. Erdoo
Ganki, a student
of nursing
science, Faculty
of Health
Sciences,
University of
Jos, the strike
had afforded
her time to take
care of her
family.
While lamenting
the implication
of the strike on
the duration of
her course,
Ganki said
while the strike lasted she would also tend to her
poultry farm.
“It is unfortunate that we are in this situation
because it will derail must of the students we are
pleading with the parties to resolve the problem
in the greater interest of the education sector.”
Ochojila Lilian, an English education
undergraduate of Benue State University said the
strike had afforded her time to trade in clothings,
“We are not happy over the issue, but some of
us who are into private businesses are left with
no other option but to dedicate more time to our
businesses”, she stated.
“We however urged ASUU and the federal
government to resolve the matter because so
many of our colleagues are roaming the streets
and in total despair.”
For Grace Lazarus, a 200-level student of Law at
the Kogi of State University, KSU, and an
evangelist, most of her time was being spent in
church.
“Since we cannot go back to classes at the
moment, I have decided to give my time to the
service of God as an evangelist”, she said.
“Though we are all praying that the matter be
resolved as soon as possible, I cannot afford to
idle away when I have much to give to humanity
through service in the vineyard of The Lord.
“And in the service of God we will continue to
pray for a peaceful resolution of the problem so
that we can all go back to school and finish in
due time.”
Advice
Mr. Oyekan Ibukun, the Students’ Union
President of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,
advising the Federal Government on the strike,
asked it to heed to the demands of ASUU
“because this is one of the things that will make
this country develop”.
Ibukun added, “To be frank, the Federal
Government has not been getting it right and so
they need to get it right this time around by
meeting the demands of ASUU. The Federal
Government is trying to destroy the future of the
youth of this country and this is what ASUU is
trying to guard against. In summary, we should
all support ASUU and prevail on President
Buhari and his team to yield to ASUU demands
in order for our university education in this
country to be revamped”.
His counterpart at Lagos State University, LASU,
Kappo Samuel Olawale, threw his weight behind
ASUU for trying to compel government to
address the rot in the university system through
strike.
“ASUU is in the right direction because what is
coming into the academic sector of the nation is
far below what it needs to develop even as our
leaders are not willing to do what is right “,
Olawale, a 400 –level computer science student,
said.
“I want to be optimistic that this administration
will yield to ASUU’s agitation soon because I
don’t believe it wants students to stay at home
indefinitely. We are aware that Vice President
Yemi Osibajo who is leading the government
negotiation team on the ASUU strike was a
university lecturer and a good father and we
expect him to find a lasting solution to the
issues.
“The National Association of Nigerian Students
is planning a stakeholders meeting where we will
decide what will be our input.
“We know we have a listening government and
they will yield to the demands of ASUU as we
know negotiations are on to resolve the crisis.
“Government needs to realise that the growth of
this nation solely depends on the quality of the
education sector and as such should give more
resources and manpower to the sector.
“A well restructured educational system will
make us ideal future leaders”.

Source: Vanguardngr

About Nwagboso Ifeanyi

My name is Nwagboso Ifeanyi...I am a World technical blogger/Journalist. I just love Sharing Gossips!.

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