Nigerian Students, Lecturers groan under ASUU Strike

Fri, Sep 15, 2017 | By publisher


The ongoing strike action embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities is taking its toll on both Nigerian students and lecturers as government and leaders of the ASUU work on compromise


  • Florence Nkwocha    


THE prolong industrial action embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, appears to be taking its toll on the affected students. Some of them are either idling away their time or engaged in menial activities. But the strike seems to have more negative impact not just on the students and lecturers, but also on the society at large.

Investigations by Realnews showed that most of the students are wasting their time at home, either watching television, playing games or sleeping extra hours because they do not have any meaningful activity to engage in. Even those who desire to take-up part time jobs are finding it difficult to get one.

Some students and lecturers, who spoke to Realnews lamented the impact of the strike action not just on their academic activities but also on their personal lives. They decried the financial burden, which the strike placed on the students and their parents, stating that the strike would not allow them to plan for the next academic years especially those sponsoring themselves.

Chinenye Ejiofor, student of Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State, said the strike is affecting her negatively as she is finding it difficult to read at home. She said since the strike started she had been spending her time chatting online with friends, seeing movies and visiting friends.

According to her, strike affects students negativel because it delays students from graduating on time. Though she finished her examinations before the strike started, Ejiofor said strike always draw students backward academically, affects the lectures, exams and in most cases make the students jobless.

“Whenever schools are on strike we don’t have anything to do and it will make us to start thinking of bad things which are not good. In fact strike is not good for the students,” she said.

But for Adaeze Ubani, student of the same university, the strike is not having any negative effect on her presently, but it might affect the duration of her education and the school’s calendar. Ubani, who is currently working as a fuel attendant at a petrol station at Aba, Abia State, said that once the strike is called off, the school activities would continue from where it stopped.

She said the strike embarked by the ASUU would affect them both negatively and positively. On the negative aspect of the strike, she said the students would not take their studies serious, thereby lagging behind academically. According to her, the strike will delay the students both morally, socially and economically. “It can also lead to prostitution, stealing and other bad things. On the positive side, it also helps the students to raise money for their school fees when the parents are not financially stable,” Ubani said.

Even the lecturers are also feeling the impact of the strike embarked by their union. Some of them blamed the state of university education in the country for the strike. They believe that if the purpose of embarking on this industrial action is addressed, it will impact positively on the education sector in the long run.

Ugochukwu Ogbonnaya, head of department, Linguistics and Communication Department, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State, said the ASUU is on strike not because of their own selfish interest but because they want to improve the educational system in the country.

He said Nigerian universities lacked all the necessary facilities that would enable it to function and compete with other universities across Africa. “When we talk about education for empowerment in Nigeria, how many universities in the country can boost of workshops like electrical workshop, adequate laboratories, libraries, classrooms and other educational facilities within the school environments? These are reasons why ASUU is on strike. They want government to provide the equipments the schools need for proper education.

“With this, by the time students will graduate they will be able to do something with their education qualification. The strike has affected the nation negatively, academic activities have been paralysed and economic activities around the host communities also paralysed. When you also check through the crime rate this time around that students are forced to go home it may be high because an idle mind is a devil’s workshop,” he said.

But there is hope that the strike may end soon as the national executive council of the ASUU met in Abuja on Thursday, September 14, to take position on the offer made to them by the federal government.

According to media report,  some universities lecturers voted to suspend the nationwide strike while some would want the strike to continue. The NEC was expected to collate the views of all the branches to arrive at a decision at the meeting. But at the time of this report the result of vote has not been announced.

In any case, the union had presented seven demands to the federal government to which the government responded with new offers on Friday, September 8. The federal government through Chris Ngige, minister of labour and productivity, said it would make funds available in September and October to back earlier agreements and to show its good faith.

In respect of the 2009 MoU which non-implementation is at the core of the grievances of ASUU, Ngige said government proposed a seven-man committee with the union to work out a framework for the implementation. He further said payments of earned allowances of the teachers had started as at the time of the meeting, while a pathway was proposed for registration of a universities’ pension management company, another demand of the teachers.

The issues the union have consistently raised are the 2009 agreement and 2013 agreement which include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company and Pension Matters, university staff school, fractionalisation and non-payment of salaries, among others.

It would be recalled that at the end of the meeting on September 8, the negotiating team of the ASUU had asked for one week to submit the proposal by the government to its members during the NEC. Biodun Ogunyemi, the national president of the union, told journalists that the union would come back after one week to take its final decisions. “Now we have some concrete proposals that we will take back to our members for consideration,” he said.

The union began its nationwide strike on August 13, despite assurances by the government that the crisis would be resolved within one week, but it has lingered for more than one month.


– Sept 15, 2017 @ 18:58 GMT |