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Varsities may lose session as ASUU strike lingers

By Iyabo Lawal
15 September 2022   |   5:00 am
With no end in sight to the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), seven months after, the fate of students seeking admission into the nation’s universities

[FILES] ASUU president Emmanuel Osodeke (middle)<br />

With no end in sight to the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), seven months after, the fate of students seeking admission into the nation’s universities remains unknown as two new sets await the resumption of academic activities.

The first set of students, whose admission processes were concluded last year, are unable to resume, while another set of students sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) this year.

With the development, two sets of new students, 2021 and 2022 are waiting to resume.

A lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) who spoke with The Guardian said most universities have two sets of students ready to resume the academic session. Those admitted in 2021 were meant to resume after the second-semester examination early this year but were halted due to the strike. Now, another set of students sat for UTME this year, waiting for admission processes.

“You know universities have been trying hard to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown, during which schools were shut, and now we have this prolonged ASUU strike. I really don’t know how this would be handled,” the lecturer, who pleaded anonymity, said.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14, over the Federal Government’s inability to meet the 2009 agreement it reached with the union.

In the agreement, ASUU is asking for funds for revitalisation of public universities and payment of salary arrears.

Amid the breakdown in negotiation, the Federal Government invoked the no-work-no-pay rule against ASUU members and later dragged the university teachers to industrial court over their refusal to return to the classroom.

Speaking on the issue, ASUU branch Chairman at the University of Calabar, Edor Edor, said the body would call off the strike when the government is ready to implement the Nimi Briggs report.

The ASUU chief said the Buhari-led government should be held responsible for the lingering strike.

“The president, ministers of education, labour and employment are all government officials representing the Nigerian people. The president is holding the people’s mandate, so, we are holding him responsible,” Edor said.

ASUU is accusing the government of reneging on the agreements it reached with the union to suspend its last industrial action in 2020.

The union also argued that the latest strike followed the government’s attitude towards renegotiation of salaries and allowances, as well as the adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payroll software.

The lecturers’ besides demanding funds for revitalisation of public universities are asking for Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).