Parents, Students Call on FG to Resolve ASUU Strike


Some parents and students in Abuja on Tuesday urged the federal government to speedily intervene and resolve the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The parents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, expressed worry over the constant strikes embarked upon by the university lecturers’ union.

On Monday, the federal government and ASUU had a meeting to resolve their agreement in order to suspend the lecturers’ strike.

However, the meeting that reportedly started at about 5 p.m. at the Federal Ministry of Education ended in another deadlock.

A parent, Mrs Eunice John, said: “It is a pity what our government and ASUU are doing to our children who have been forced once again out of school.

“‎We know that many of the leaders have their children either studying in private universities or in other schools overseas, that is why they can always keep our children out of school.
“Many parents are struggling to pay school fees of their wards to keep them in school and out of the streets, yet these children are forced to come home and some now engage in various vices.

“That is not the only problem, when their studies are disrupted, it affects them; imagine those who were in the middle of writing examinations having that flow disrupted.”

‎John pleaded with the federal government and ASUU to reach an agreement that would end the strike and ultimately help improve the education sector.

Mr David Onilede, another parent, said the strike was worrisome, adding that it would affect the productivity of the students.

“I am worried at the sustained strike by ASUU. As a parent, the capacity of our children for productive interaction with their studies is being jeopardised.

“I do not trust the federal government’s negotiating team; it seems that it is fixated on commercialising education at the tertiary level; ASUU should resist this. ‎

“ASUU too, should be more flexible in their obsession with earned allowances; it portrays their struggles as selfish,” he said.

Mrs Jumoke Yusuf, a public servant, told NAN that the constant and protracted lecturers’ strikes had marred the country’s university system, as continuous breaks in the learning process had negatively affected the students.

“This strike is affecting the students and even we the parents because unexpectedly these children are coming home which they did not plan for.

“That is not the main issue because you cannot stop your children from coming home no matter what.

“The issue is that these incessant strikes are actually causing a lot of problems for these children in the sense that they just stay too long in school,” she said.

Esther Ajayi, a student ‎at the Nasarawa State University, who a spoke to NAN, said the strike had reduced her morale.

‎”I paid my fees for admission for a master’s degree programme and was excited and ready to go to school, however, this strike has dampened my hope of finishing within the stipulated time.

“We want the federal government to dialogue with ASUU to end this continuous strike.

“It is not only sad that children of the masses try to beat all odds to be the best they can be, but more worrisome is that the government of the day plays politics with the education system.

‎”Nigeria prides herself as the giant of Africa, but finds it difficult to resolve issues that are beneficial to the populace, we want the strike called off soonest,” she said.

Emmanuel Onuoha, another student who spoke to NAN, accused the federal government of failing Nigerian students. ‎

He said that government needed to do everything within its power to address the challenges in the sector as he called for the strike to be called off soonest.

“Our parents said in their time the education system was good, there was nothing like strike and education was basically free.

“Now some of them are in government and they are allowing us to suffer what they never did, because they can afford to send their children to schools abroad to get the best. ‎

“We are pleading with government to solve this problem so we can go back to school.

“Our ‎mates in private universities are way ahead of us; we‎ are just sitting at home doing nothing. It is not fair,”‎ he said.

ASUU began an indefinite strike November 4.

Specifically, ASUU demanded improved funding of public universities based on agreements reached with the federal government in 2009.

Some of the demands by the union are that the federal government should nominate another chairman of the government renegotiating team of the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government Agreement to replace Dr Wale Babalakin.

Other issues bothering the union are the non-payment of earned allowance, funding of revitalisation of the Nigerian universities, implementation of needs assessment report, and poor funding of state universities, among others. (NAN)