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Education

ASUU strike: Students groan, demand immediate compromise between FG, lecturers

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Siyanbola Ololade

Today marks 88 days of the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU). The industrial action, which commenced on February 14 with an initial warning strike of 3 months, was recently extended by another 12 weeks.

The striking lecturers had insisted that there was no going back on the strike until the Federal Government meets its demands which include the renegotiation of the ASUU-FG 2009 agreement, a university revitalization fund, and the implementation of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payroll software, among others.

However, bearing the brunt of the face-off between ASUU and the Nigerian authorities are students of public tertiary institutions in the country who have been forced to stay home, as their academic aspirations now hang in the balance.

Seemingly disturbed by the situation, some students have taken to the streets to demand an end to the ongoing strike action and reopen the universities for academic activities.

On Thursday, students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) blocked Ile-Ife-Ibadan expressway to express their displeasure with the Federal Government.

Their counterparts in Ogun State under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) had, on Wednesday, blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta highway, causing traffic gridlock for motorists. Students of three federal institutions — University of Ilorin, University of Lagos and University of Benin — also held peaceful protests earlier in the week.

Speaking with our correspondent, a student of Management and Accounting department at OAU, Olawuwo Boluwatife narrated how the ongoing strike has affected her academics.

“Though I used the first three months to study for my ICAN exams, I am worried by the extension by another 3 months. Should we continue to stay at home with no response from the Federal Government, the situation would be become more unbearable. Time is running out for some of us,” she said.

Ebunoluwa Awokojo, a student of Demography and Social Statistics department of the same institution, had a similar story to share.

She said, “The strike has affected me both positively and negatively. Positively in the sense that I’ve been able to think more about what I can do aside school works and to venture into it, which probably I wouldn’t have thought about, if school was fully in session. Also everything is moving so fast, plus I might be discouraged because of the workload of school and stress. Then negatively in the sense that the delay is making me feel like giving up or lose total interest in school.”

Meanwhile, the meeting between Federal Government officials and ASUU held at Aso Rock on Thursday ended in a deadlock, as the Union rejected the pleas to return back to the classrooms.

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