ASUU strike paralyses varsities

Academic activities were paralysed in
many public universities across the
country on Tuesday following the strike
embarked upon by the Academic Staff
Union of Universities (ASUU).
At the University of Ibadan (UI), although
all lecture rooms were opened, they were
devoid of activities.
Students who tried their luck for early
morning lectures were stunned when none
of their lecturers showed up.
The strike was total on the campus, as
none of the faculties and departments
visited by our reporter was at work.
To keep themselves busy, some of the
students were seen playing soccer and
basket ball on the campus, while those in
their final year lamented.
National Treasurer of ASUU, Ademola
Aremu, in his reaction, said the strike was
fully complied with, stressing that the
entire university community was carried
along in the effort to reposition
He said the Vice Chancellor of the
University, Isaac Folorunso Adewole, had
been communicated on the strike, which,
he said, affected teaching, supervision,
statutory and ad-hoc meetings.
Universities in Lagos were a shadow of
It was complete lull at the Lagos State
University (LASU) and the Akoka campus
of the University of Lagos where
undergraduates were seen loitering
Some of the students expressed
disappointment at the refusal of the
Federal Government to heed to the
genuine request of their lecturers.
ASUU Chairman at the Lagos State
University, Adekunle Idris, said members
were complying fully with the order.
Chairman of University of Lagos (UNILAG)
chapter of ASUU, Oghenekaro Ogbinaka
said the same.
“There is no teaching, no examination, no
grading of scripts, no project supervision,
no statutory meetings.
“The compliance is 100 per cent here
(UNILAG) and we will continue until the
national body decides otherwise,” he said.
However, some universities were trying to
find ways of staying out of the strike.
In the early part of Tuesday, it was
unclear whether institutions like the
University of Abuja and the University of
Benin (UNIBEN) would join.
“We hear that the lecturers are going to
meet and that they may want to ask to be
excused because of recent troubles that
have beclouded academic activities in the
school,” a student who wished the strike
did not happen in the University of Abuja
(UNIABUJA), told reporters.
But his wish, like that many of other
students of the institution was short-lived
as the institution’s chapter of ASUU
announced later in the day that they were
joining in the strike.
But lectures went on normally at UNIBEN
on Tuesday.
Speaking on phone to reporters,
ASUU South West Zonal Coordinator, Akin
Ajisegiri, said the resolution to go on
strike would not have arisen if the Federal
Government had lived up to what they had
promised in 2009.
“The decision by ASUU to suspend the
strike four years ago was due to the
unusual intervention, which made us
believe that it would be different. At least
there were three ministers involved,
including that of education, labour and
finance,” Ajisegiri said.
“Four years after, none of all the promises
has been fulfilled.”
On his part, Chairman of ASUU) in the
University of Abuja, Clement Chup, said
threats by some of the affiliate institutions
to back out of the nationwide strike would
not jeopardise the action.
ASUU President, Nasir Fagge, in a phone
interview with reporters said the
union decided to down tools because
lecturers could not continue to “deceive
themselves that they were working, while
the system decays.”
He said the intolerable rot in the
universities forced the union to declare
the strike.
“It is a painful decision to call this strike
because we are parents too. In our
universities today, you find 12 students in
a room, all with 12 kerosene stoves
working simultaneously. There are no
facilities in the universities, researches are
not going on.
“Instead of deceiving ourselves that we are
working, we feel this is the best decision
to take to safeguard the future of our
children. As future leaders, they deserve
the best,” he said
Meanwhile, Minister of Education,
Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, reacted on Tuesday,
saying the Federal Government made an
offer to ASUU but got no response from
them even before the commencement of
the strike.
Rufa’I, who was responding to questions
from journalists, did not give specific hint
on the details of the offer made by the
Federal Government to the union.
She explained that government was still
expecting response from ASUU.
“They are our colleagues, we meet with
them, we discussed with them. There is an
offer from government. We expect to hear
from them, and up till now we are
expecting to hear from them,” the
minister sad.
Also, Executive Secretary of the National
Universities Commission (NUC), Julius
Okojie, said ASUU was supposed to write
the government in respect of the offer
made to them at a meeting about three
weeks ago.
He disclosed that ASUU had told the
Federal Government that it would get back
with a response after its National
Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
But the House of Representatives urged
the Federal Government to open
discussions with ASUU and the National
Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Workers (NUPENG) to come up with a
lasting solution to the issues raised by
both unions.
The House also appealed to NUPENG and
ASUU to call off their strikes in the
interest of the nation, students, parents
and Nigerian masses.
The House Committees on Education and
Petroleum Downstream respectively were
asked to investigate the issues raised by
both ASUU and NUPENG and report to the
House within seven days.
The NUPENG, like ASUU, had on Monday
begun a three-day warning strike and
threatened to follow with an indefinite
action nationwide to press home demand
for government to end what it terms
unfair labour practices’ by some
international oil companies (IOCs),
including Shell Development Company of
Nigeria Limited, Chevron Nigeria Limited
and the Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited
(NAOC), among others towards its
Lagos State House of Assembly also
reacted by advising the Federal
Government to adhere to the agreement it
reached with ASUU on the payment of
their allowances.
Chairman of the Assembly Committee on
Information, Strategy, Security and
Publicity, Segun Olulade, in a statement
on Tuesday maintained that the welfare of
lecturers was paramount in any academic
programme and should not be treated
with levity.
Another group, Education Rights Campaign
(ERC), said it fully backs the decision of
ASUU to embark on the indefinite strike.

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