Sunday, 4th June 2023

How ASUU strike is ravaging youths

By Luke Onyekakeyah
21 June 2022   |   2:55 am
A call over the weekend from a distraught parent whose son told him that he was no longer interested in going to school as a result of the ongoing ASUU strike provoked this comment.

A call over the weekend from a distraught parent whose son told him that he was no longer interested in going to school as a result of the ongoing ASUU strike provoked this comment. Too many parents and families are going through untold turmoil with their sons and daughters that are idle at home as a result of the unending strike. Many of the youngsters have resorted to criminal activities including drug peddling, Yahoo-Yahoo, prostitution, drug addiction, kidnapping and ritual killing, among others.

According to the man who called to lament, in anguish, about the fate that has befallen his family. His 25-year old son suddenly decided that he was no longer interested in going to school to continue with his studies in the university. The father thought he was joking. Before he knew it, the young man left home and travelled to Abuja.

A little while after his departure, news came that the young man had been rounded up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja. He was among a group of 30 yahoo-yahoo boys the agency raided in parts of Abuja metropolis. The panic-stricken father could not fathom what to do amid the untold hardship the family was passing through.

Of recent, the EFCC has found a new job in raiding and arresting hundreds of youths who have been pushed to crime by the lingering ASUU strike. The catalogue of arrests is long.

According to reports, thirty suspected internet fraudsters were recently arrested by the operatives of the Abuja Zonal Command of the EFCC. A statement issued by the anti graft agency’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said the suspects were arrested in Lugbe and Kubwa suburbs of Abuja on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

In another incident, operatives of EFCC arrested 140 suspected Yahoo boys in Lagos. The suspects were reportedly nabbed in separate sting operations at popular hotels in Ikorodu, Lagos State, following credible intelligence on their involvement in internet-related fraud. The commission in a statement issued by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said four of the suspects were released as no incriminating item was found on them.

Again, operatives of the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the other day arrested 31 suspected internet fraudsters, also known as yahoo boys, at their locations in Benin.

Items recovered from the suspects at the point of arrest included nine exotic cars – Lexus ES 300, Mercedes Benz GLK 350, Lexus RX330, Lexus RX350, Lexus RX330, Three (3) Mercedes Benz C300, Mercedes Benz C350 4Matic; laptops and mobile phones.

Recently, operatives of the Kano Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFC), arrested 6 ‘Yahoo boys’ in Kano. A statement on EFCC Face book page said they were picked up during a raid at No. 282 HC Hotoro North Quarters, Kano. The raid followed intelligence gathering and surveillance on activities of occupants of the building.

Furthermore, no fewer than 80 suspected internet fraudsters were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Oyo State. Operatives of the Ibadan Zonal Command confirmed the development. The suspects were arrested in a sting operation carried out in Ibadan, Oyo State and Ondo State.

The anti-graft agency said 41 suspects were arrested in Akure, the Ondo State capital while 39 were arrested in Oyo State. The suspects who claimed to be undergraduates of different tertiary institutions in Ibadan were arrested at the Apete area of the Oyo State capital, following useful intelligence on their cyber-fraudulent activities.

The problem is not only on Internet fraud. Many of the youths are deep in drug peddling. Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency reportedly arrested some youths for organising a cannabis party in the Asokoro area of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

The party was reportedly organised by a group of ladies on a Wednesday night. PUNCH Metro gathered that the youths were having a nice time when the NDLEA officers invaded the venue. A tweet with the handle @ezioimmauel, said about one hundred suspects were arrested. It said bottles of the new drink were taken for a lab analysis.

Babafemi said the hotel was raided around 8.18pm on Wednesday, April 20, following actionable intelligence that some youths were planning to hold a hemp party at the hotel.

“Quantities of cannabis sativa were recovered from the pockets and bags of those arrested at the hemp party. The audacious party no doubt is part of attempts by some elements to create a drug subculture in the Nigerian social space.

The foregoing represents a tip of the iceberg with regard to what idle youths have turned into that must be arrested without further delay. These crimes are nationwide. No state is free. The detention centres are filled with youths arrested for various offenses. Something should be done about the incessant ASUU strikes.

The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to use his executive power as the Commander-in-Chief to end the unending and destructive ASUU strike by university teachers has pushed thousands of youths on the destructive path. How much is ASUU asking for that the President could not order to be released to settle this nagging issue? The entire world is scandalized that Nigerian youths have been subjected to untold hardship by virtue of a corrupt system impacting the education sector.

ASUU is a union that aims to satisfy the welfare and interest of its members within the framework of promoting the cause of university education of Nigerians in Nigeria.

It is worrisome that a whole generation of youths is abandoned by the careless and oppressive Nigerian system to waste without a future. Youngsters who should be in school are languishing in hopelessness. Why is nobody in government interested in the welfare of these youths? History will not be kind to this government under whose watch the nation’s universities are shut thereby putting the future of thousands of youths on the destructive path.

President Buhari took over government in 2015 with ASUU and the government under President Goodluck Jonathan locked in unending strike. Buhari came with an aura of a savior and ended the strike. It was thought that there won’t be any ASUU strike under Buhari but that is far from the truth.

Available information shows that under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, undergraduates in universities across the country have lost at least 13 months from their educational calendar, owing to the recurring strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This explains why the products of the institutions are half-baked. Is it surprising that certificates obtained from Nigerian universities are not recognized outside the shores of Nigeria?

According to Daily Trust newspaper, the first ASUU strike under the Buhari administration began on August 17, 2017. This was as a result of the default from the government after they had signed an MOU with the union.

Out of the N1.3trn requested by ASUU, only N200bn was paid, which caused the association to embark on a one-week warning strike in November 2016 to press for their funds. The strike ended in September 2017.

The second ASUU strike started on November 4, 2018, which lasted till February 7, 2019, making it a total of 95 days. This was also as a result of the outstanding issues between the Federal Government and ASUU as regards the 2009 agreement and the MoU of 2013.

The third ASUU strike commenced on March 23, 2020. The indefinite strike started the same week President Muhammadu Buhari imposed the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was ongoing. The strike lasted for 9 months.

The latest ongoing strike by ASUU began on on February 14 2022 to demand for better condition of service as contained in the agreement it reached with government in 2009. Earlier today, ASUU announced the commencement of another strike, which would last for four weeks.

The way out is to have a law that forbids universities from being shut for whatever reason. ASUU and government could have misunderstanding and that should be followed with due process but never to have the universities shut.

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