Again, strike stalls activities on campuses
• Total compliance in UI, LAUTECH, as students read the riot act to lecturers
• UNIPORT cancels convocation billed for April 1
Following the extension of the ongoing nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bayero University, Kano (BUK) and Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST) Wudil; have directed students residing on campus to vacate their hostels with immediate effect.
Authorities of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) also directed students in the institution to vacate hostels within 48 hours over the strike action. In a statement by the Registrar, A. A. Bobola, the university advised students to comply.
Besides, BUK also suspended students’ on-campus jobs, and an entrepreneurship scheme was recently launched until further notice.
KUST was about reopening for a new academic session when the ASUU strike was declared; the hostels have remained shut to students. A statement by the Information and Publication Secretary of the university on behalf of the registrar said the measure became necessary following the extension of the ongoing strike by ASUU.
The statement directed students presently residing on campus to vacate the university premises for their safety.
“The students should equally note that the management would suspend the provision of all municipal services in the hostels. This is to forestall any unforeseen act of criminality, as well as its attendant consequences.
“In the same vein, management has approved the suspension of students’ on-campus job scheme until the resumption of full academic activities,” the statement read in part.
Although other essential services rendered to students on campus are the basic responsibilities of non-academic staff, the university was not explicit on why those services would no longer be available, while government is still paying for them.
IN Rivers State, tertiary institutions have become deserted. The Guardian visited two campuses of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) and observed that hostels in the Choba campus had been vacated, while few female hostels were still occupied at Abuja Campus.
The university’s public relations officer, Samuel Kpenu, confirmed that the school had ordered students to vacate hostels, as no academic activity was going on.
A student, who gave his name as George Bob Manuel, said they were directed to vacate their hostels, although a few of them were still hanging around, hoping that the union would resolve issues with the Federal Government.
As a result of the strike, UNIPORT, had last Monday, announced the postponement of its 33rd combined convocation billed to hold between April 1 and 2, 2022.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Registrar of the School, Glory Chinah, who said a new date would be communicated in due course.
IN Enugu, only a handful of students are staying back in their hostels at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and its Enugu campus.
Findings showed that the students, who stayed back during the one-month warning strike by ASUU, hoping that they would resume academic activities after its expiration, started leaving their hostels in droves after the striking lecturers extended their industrial action.
Although there was no official communication from the university on whether students should vacate their hostels, an official told The Guardian that the students took the decision to go home on their own.
“Some of them stayed behind during the one-month warning strike, but when ASUU extended it by two months, they started leaving. However, there are some who stayed back, maybe for personal reasons.
Ikenna Ugwu, a 200–level Accountancy student of the school, who left the university last Friday said: “I could no longer cope. I stayed behind initially because I thought the lecturers would return to work at the expiration of the one-month warning strike. But as it is, the strike may not end soon. Let me go back to my parents and wait until they resolve the issues.”
Mrs Bridget Okere, whose two daughters came back home last week from school, lamented the situation. “They should resolve whatever their problems are so that these children can go back to school. I now cook every day because they are at home. It is an additional burden on me since I don’t do so when they are in school.”
At the Enugu campus, however, most of those found on the premises are medical students. The hostels are almost empty and businesses have closed down. Many of the campus commercial operators have left, while those who still have one thing or the other to do on campus either walk to their destinations or wait for private vehicles.
The situation, however, is different at Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). As of Monday, the school was in full session, as some departments were gearing up for their semester examination. The school neither joined the one-month warning strike nor the now two months extension.
A lecturer in the school, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We are still observing our normal classes. Some departments have started their examinations and others are warming up. The truth about the entire strike is that even if we joined, there is no way it would benefit us at the end of the day. We are barely surviving from what we generate internally and for you to do that; you must keep the system running. That is the situation.
“Our chapter has not called a congress on the national strike. I doubt if we will even join because the state government is fulfilling its part of the bargain to keep the university running. So the peculiar situation of the school is known to every staff.”
AT the University of Ibadan (UI) and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, there is total compliance with the strike action.
On March 17, the UI management shut down the institution, ordering students to vacate their halls of residence with immediate effect.
But it said postgraduate students who have paid their school fees and undergraduates on an industrial attachment or practical training are exempted from the vacation notice.
However, LAUTECH students had issued a 72-hour ultimatum for the university chapter to opt-out of the ongoing strike or be ready for confrontation.
The students, in a letter by the SUG President, Anuoluwa Adeboye, and public relations officer, Love Gabriel Michael, lamented the crippling effects of incessant strikes on the institution in the past and the present debilitating challenges it has brought.
They maintained that the involvement of ASUU LAUTECH is not only dangerous for them as students but also bad for the university system.
The students’ body asked the leadership of ASUU in the institution to borrow a leaf from ASUU KWASU that wrote a special letter to the national body based on peculiarities in their institution.