By Safiyanu Ladan
The Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike on the 14th February 2022, following years of unresolved issues with the federal government. During the period of the strike, the union had on several occasions met with the federal government representatives headed by the labor and employment minister Chris Ngige with a clear mandate to find a long and lasting solution to the lingering problems but to no avail as the meetings have always ended in deadlock.
Tired and frustrated with that, In September last year, the federal government through the ministry of labor and employment took the union to an industrial court, praying to the court among other things to order the varsity teachers to resume classes with immediate effect. The outcome of the court’s judgement favored the federal government. Paradoxically, the appellant court refused to entertain ASUU’s appeal, saying that until and unless they obey the lower court’s judgement of going back to classes.
The intervention of the speaker, house of representatives Right Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has paved the way for the varsity workers to get a soft landing in what seems like an unending fracas with the Federal government.
Prolonged and incessant ASUU strikes were this time around followed by a heavy price as the federal government reiterated that, the no work no pay policy has been duly applied to the striking workers. The federal government decision to withhold their salary has generated heated debates and threats from ASUU, but the government remains adamant. Closing down of Universities is at the detriment of students because they are always at the receiving end.
Having been tried but failed to convince the FG to pay the arrears of the past eight months of ASUU members, the management of some universities have decided to compensate that with an increment of students’ school fees. It’s no longer news that some universities have deliberately increased their fees to more than 100%.
It’s now crystal clear that this increment will affect many students because their parents cannot afford to pay such whopping amount of money as school fees. In the meantime, the mass exodus of students dropping out of the universities most especially in the North is imminent. Leaders and everyone should know this. Many students have expressed their worries on the trend and their final resolve to quit.
Safiyanu Ladan wrote from Zariya City and can be reached via email@example.com.