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Five strange developments caused by ASUU strike

The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has entered seventh month since February 14, 2022. ASUU has constantly said that the strike…

The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has entered seventh month since February 14, 2022.

ASUU has constantly said that the strike was as a result of the failure of the government to meet some of the union’s demands such as the release of the revitalization funds for universities, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers, renegotiation.

Since then strike started, there have been a couple of developments, some of which appear strange.

FG drags ASUU to court

The federal government has accused the union of being selfish and to force the striking lecturers back to class, it introduced the “no-work-no-pay” policy.

A few days after, it announced pay rise for the lecturers, and promised that N150 billion “shall be provided for in the 2023 budget as funds for the revitalization of federal universities, which is to be disbursed to the institutions in the first quarter of the year.”

The government consequently dragged ASUU to industrial court as the lecturers, who want 100 per cent salary increase, turned down the offer.

Lecturers devise ways to survive  

The “no-work-no-pay” policy of  the Federal Government against the striking  universities lecturers is forcing some lecturers to resort to petty trading, farming, among others, to put food on the table for their families.

Apart from a lecturer in Kano who acted as a middle man in a ram market in the state during Sallah festivities to survive, a lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr. Suraj Olufesi, said that some of his mates have converted their private vehicles into taxi cabs.

A student at the Ekiti State University, Deborah Adebowale, said she was shocked to the marrow when she saw that her lecturer was the driver of a Uber ride she ordered for.

“When I saw the name, I was confused because I could not believe it would be him. But when the cab arrived, I was shocked when I saw him.

“I could not look at his face all through the ride. We were just chatting about how terrible the country had been. I was not comfortable my lecturer was my driver,” she said.

However, Christiana Pam, a lecturer at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said to survive the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), she is now into the petty trade of selling potatoes.

Another lecturer, Joshua Hassan, at the Federal University of Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), said he worked remotely on other business ventures such as consultancy and blogging, and owns a business firm.

“In Nigeria, it would be a mistake to depend on salary alone with increasing responsibilities. As for me, I am on guard, but for some of my colleagues, honestly, it has not been easy,” he said.

Lecturer ‘puts library for sale’

A frustrated lecturer at the University of Maiduguri, Dr. Othman Abubakar, has allegedly put his library for sale as the ASUU strike lingers.

In a short note titled “Goodbye To Education In Nigeria, No Hope”, Dr. Othman Abubakar of English Department University of Maiduguri wrote:

“With the destruction of university education in Nigeria today, and the starving of university lecturers by the insensitive APC government, I no longer need these books. Those that still believe that education in Nigeria is important, please come to my office at the address below and buy these books at your own price l am available in the office from 9am to 5pm daily including weekends.

“Access Address: Department of English and literary studies, University of Maiduguri. Sign. Dr Abubakar Othman”.

Students turn traders

Usman Abubakar-Rimi a Medicine and Surgery final year student at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS) has turned to street food vendor due to prolonged industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Abubakar-Rimi said he conceived the initiative in order to engage in productive living as the strike forced students to become redundant.

The student who owns a food outlet in the Diplomat area in Sokoto metropolis, said the ongoing strike gave him the opportunity to expand the business.

Ahmad Rufai, a student at Bayero University, Kano, now owns a tea stall. He said the strike has hanged students’ future in the balance.

He said, “I keep myself busy here and earn a lot from my new business. Even when the strike is called off, I will not let go of this business. There is no stability in the country.”

Traders on campuses lament

Traders at ‘Coke Village’ in Bayero University, Kano who have shutdown their business due to the ongoing strike say they are in difficult situations.

The traders lamented that their businesses have suffered severe blows since the union embarked on the strike.

Aminu Ibrahim said his friend who is a trader on the campus now finds it difficult to feed his family.

Ibrahim said, “He told me that life is very difficult for him and his family. Many of them are in the same situation since the strike began.”