Vanguard (Lagos)

8 December 2011

Nigeria: ASUU Strike Hits Varsities Hard

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The indefinite, total strike declared by Academic Staff Union of Universities, has cripped academic activities at several institutions.

THE indefinite, total strike declared by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is hitting Universities hard as academic activities have been crippled in several institutions.

ASUU had directed all its members in Federal and State universities to embark on total, comprehensive and indefinite strike over refusal of government to implement agreement reached in 2009 with the union.

By the strike, there won't be teaching, no examinations, no grading of scripts, no project supervisions, no inaugural lectures, no appointment and promotion meeting, no statutory meeting (Council, Senate, Board, etc) or other meetings directed by government or their agents.

Cause of the industrial action as stated by the National President of ASUU, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie is government's failure to honour the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement and the disregard of the two months of grace the Union gave government to show faith on the agreement smacked of insensitivity.

Implementation of core components

Said Awuzie: "ASUU-NEC having noted that the Federal Government neglected, ignored, failed and refused to implement the core components of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement after more than two years of its signing, having squandered two months it requested without achieving any progress in the implementation of the agreement, having sacked the implementation monitoring Committee that served as the forum for dialogue with ASUU on this dispute.

ASUU is convinced that the government is terribly insincere and is manifestly unwilling to genuinely implement the agreement it freely entered with the Union".

Education Vanguard sought the views of several stakeholders on the strike.

Mrs. Rose Kalu, Proprietress of Kings and Queens School, Lagos, said: "The government is to be blamed for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. If government had complied with the demands of the Union of which they know that it is for the good of the citizens of the country Nigeria, the Union would not have embarked on the strike, however, the government should take immediate action to solve the issue".

Mrs. Pat Amahian, the CEO Apesco Motors, Lagos said: "The government, ASUU Union, the parents and students all have part of the blame. Why I said so is because if the government had not signed the agreement with ASUU, they would not have embarked on a strike.

The Union has no justification to carryout such actions be it for retired age or infrastructure, and for the students they are too lazy to make research, that is why they seek for alternative means such as e-learning and the rest of them".

A staff of Anambra State University, Mr. Ephraim Ojimba disclosed that ASUU-ANSU branch is yet to comply with the National ASUU directives as lectures and other academic activities are still going on in the school.

Joel Ibekwe, a 200 level student of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) said that academic activities have been grounded in the school, as lecturers were not on ground yesterday to teach their students.

Ibekwe, however, expressed dismay in the ASUU strike saying: "this will disrupt our academic calendar, perhaps making us spend more than our due time in school".

Also lending a voice, Cynthia Ejikeme, a 100 level student of Nnamdi Azikwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, revealed that lectures are still going on in the school, adding, "as a fresher, who is new in the system, I wouldn't like to have any hitch in my academic calendar".

The nation wide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU has had almost total compliance in all universities, both state and federal. At the premier university, University of Ibadan many new intakes were stranded as many of them could not register and examinations of some doctoral students could not hold.

The examinations was to take place at the Faculty of Education and other faculties in the institution. Though, students of the institution have finished their examination, other activities like conferences, seminars and workshops could not hold.

The ASUU chairman in the institution, Dr Olusegun Ajiboye said no academic staff would participate in any board meeting, university seminar or conference, or in the ongoing registration of the newly admitted students.

In Abia state, lecturers from both the state university, ABSU, Uturu and the Michael Okprara University of Agriculture, Umudike, complied with the directives from the leadership of the union. In Calabar zone,University of Uyo,University of Calabar and Cross River State University of Technology lecturers also complied with the directives

In North -Central zone, academic activities were paralyzed at the University of Jos. Most lecturers at the University stayed away from school while those who showed up said they were around to pick some things from their offices.

In Sokoto, the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto has also been grounded as lecturers stayed away from class rooms. The University branch of the Union has called on parents and all stakeholders to prevail on the federal government to honour the 2009 agreement with the Union.

The Branch Chairman, Dr. Lawal Abubakar observed that rather than prevail on the Union to call off strikes whenever it embarks on one, parents and other stakeholders should talk to the government to honour the agreement between them.

As at press time, one the Universities that have not complied with the national directives of ASUU is Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti. The local chapter in the school has suspended action over the strike to allow students to write their second semester examinations.The students were expected to have started their second semester examination yesterday.

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