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ASUU: I pray such strike doesn’t occur again — UNILAG VC

The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, says he is excited at the decision of lecturers in public universities to return to…

The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, says he is excited at the decision of lecturers in public universities to return to classes, praying such a strike would not occur again.

He said this wile reacting to the directive of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to its members to return to classes, following the suspension its eight-month-old industrial action.

Ogundipe, who spoke on the sidelines of an event at the university, said he was excited that the entire issue, which had kept students in affected institutions out of school, was being handled the way it ought to be.

He said that there was no university anywhere in the world without the students, adding that the institution was going to ensure that they returned to campus as soon as possible.

“I am excited as a person that we have been able to settle the differences. It is not like the ASUU is fighting government, it is just that there are differences which they have been able to resolve.

“And like I have said before, it was in the area of teaching that the lecturers were involved, but in the area of research, attending conferences, doing their community works, they are still fully involved.

“That is the reason why, when you come to our campus, you see that activities were going on, apart from teaching. Now that the strike has been suspended, we are going to ensure that in the next two weeks, our students will come back to campus, so that we can have our lives back. You know that without these students, we don’t have life and I want to emphasise the need for and continuous dialogue to resolve any form of disagreement, as I pray that such strike does not occur again,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the University of Lagos community have heaved a sigh of relief following the suspension of the eight-month-old industrial action.

Ogunbiyi Anjola, a 400 level student of Accounting, Faculty of Management Science told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who was on campus to monitor developments that he was mentally stressed by the elongated strike.

He, however, said that it was soothing and comforting hearing about the suspension of the strike.

“I am indeed very relieved. It has been devastating. By now, I am supposed to have concluded my programme. In August, we were supposed to have concluded, but we had not even gotten to half of the first semester, when the strike was declared.

“Right now, we are just waiting for school to resume. Both parties ought to have looked for solution long before and not wait for a court injunction. Government must also learn to fulfil promises to avoid a repeat of incidents like this in the future.
“You know this strike has only been suspended conditionally,” he stated.

Benjamin Okonkwo, another final year student of the Faculty of Law of the university said the decision to suspend the strike was a welcome development, though long overdue.

“My course is for five years but now dragging on to become a seven years course, aside the mandatory law school. Indeed, no one could be very sure of when to conclude programmes in public universities with developments like this in the country.

“It is disturbing and something that must be given indepth attention if indeed we wish to attain the much clamoured accelerated development, as well as belong to the comity of nations as a country,” Okonkwo told NAN.
Some operators of the university’s campus shuttle, who did not want their names in print said they were excited at the news of the suspension of the strike.

“It’s really been difficult meeting up with our desire to make ends meet with the kind of job we do here on campus. We scarcely make the number of rounds we normally do conveying both students, staff and visitors to their various destinations here on campus.

“You know we cannot compare the way it used to be when school is fully in session and a buzz in activities here to when there is a strike that even lasted this long. In all, want to say that we are happy that life will soon return to campus.

“But having said this, we want government to do its own side of the bargain to forestall a reoccurrence as the ASUU has only suspended the strike conditionally,” one of them said.

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