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Asuu Strike: Aggrieved Students Shut Nass, Education Ministry

March 01, 2022

Aggrieved university students under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Monday, disrupted official activities at the National Assembly Complex and Federal Ministry of Education, both in Abuja, in a peaceful protest.

They completely blocked entrance gates of both buildings for several hours demanding the attention of the senior government officials to their plights

 

They explained that the peaceful protest was to register their discontent with periodic industrial actions by university lecturers under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and inability of Federal Government to meet their demands.

The students in their hundreds marched through the streets of Abuja with placards bearing different inscriptions, chanting solidarity songs and demanding an end to periodic academic interruptions in the university system.

The aggrieved students also carried mattress, cooking gas and other utensils ready to occupy NASS and Federal Ministry of Education until they are assured of the concrete measures to end the nationwide strike.

NANS President, Sunday Asefon, who led the protest said it’s disheartening to note that ASUU has gone on strike more than four years cumulatively since 1999.

“The consequences of this development are grave on the part of the students who are the victim of these industrial actions by ASUU as a result of labour disagreement with the Federal Government. The resultant effect of these strikes is inconsistency in scholarship, research, and learning output.

“At the end of every strike action, ASUU members get their salary, government officials and politicians get theirs, Ministers of Education and his counterpart in Labour get their pay and allowances for ‘unproductive’ meetings with ASUU, but the students get nothing than the inability to get mobilized for NYSC as a result of age limitation, limited job opportunities as a result of age limitation, untimely death of students traversing the poor Nigerian roads unnecessarily, all as a result of incessant ASUU strike.

“Most of the industrial actions could have been avoided if the government has been responsible enough to fulfill promises/agreements freely entered with ASUU over the years, and fulfill their part of the bargain.

“Public tertiary institutions in Nigeria has taken a downward slope in recent years and there is an urgent need to fix the system. Many students no longer trust the education outcome of tertiary institutions as a result of strikes and infrastructural neglect from the government.

“These developments account for the high level of migration of Nigerian students abroad in search of stable and quality education. Many of our students are trapped in war-ravaged Ukraine as a result of the strikes in our universities and lack of adequate infrastructural development.”

The students, thus, asked the Federal Government to honour agreement freely entered with ASUU and renegotiate areas that need renegotiation, while ASUU be open-minded, progressive, and realistic in their terms.

They suggested that Federal Government do all it takes to convince ASUU to suspend its strike and return to classroom to ensure continuity in academic calendar, and also consider urgent investment in revitalizing public tertiary institutions in Nigeria to accommodate growing population and the emerging needs.

“We demand that Nigerian students who are the victim of the incessant ASUU strike must be represented in all negotiations between the Federal Government and ASUU, and both parties must show proof that their children attended or attending a public university in Nigeria,” they said.

The students, therefore, pleaded with ASUU to call off the strike while they device new means of holding the government accountable without necessarily going on strike.

They insisted that if their positions are not looked into and acted upon immediately, they would continue to protest every week, and even pick a more strategic venue that will impact the economy significantly.