Many of the nation’s universities on Tuesday complied with the strike called by the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
ASUU had on Monday began a two-week strike to press the Federal Government to implement its 2019 agreement and resolution. Lecturers at the University of Nigeria Nsukka on Tuesday joined the warning strike. One of our correspondents reported that academic activities at the institution were totally paralysed. Although students were seen on campus, no lecture took place, just as the task force set up by ASUU, UNN were seen moving from place to place to ensure total compliance.
Two 100-level students of Political Science, Cathrine Emmanuel and Okuba David, said the industrial action had affected the school’s academic programme. They regretted that the test they had prepared for which was to hold on Tuesday was postponed indefinitely. Also, the University of Ilorin chapter of ASUU on Tuesday directed its members to join the strike.
The chairman of the Unilorin chapter of ASUU, Prof. Moyosore Ajao, said, “We have just held our congress and we resolved that our members should embark on two weeks warning strike. “The strike is total because there is no dissident group among our members,” he said. A statement jointly signed by Ajao and ASUU Secretary, M. A. Akanmu, titled, ‘Commencement of Industrial Action at UNILORIN, read in part, “In line with the directive of NEC, arising from its meeting held at ESUT Enugu, from 7th to 9th March, 2020, the union across the nation is hereby directed to proceed on a two-week warning strike with immediate effect.”
Also, at the Ahmadu Bello University, ASUU joined the two-week strike on Tuesday. The chairman of the ABU ASUU, Prof. Rabiu Nasiru, told said that the decision to join the national body was taken at their congress held on Tuesday. The chairman said, “The strike is on. We had our congress today and we resolved to embark on the strike.”
In Ogun State, the ASUU members of the Federal University of Agriculture, shunned classrooms in total compliance to the warning strike. When one of our correspondents visited FUNAAB campus at Alabata, Abeokuta, only non-academic staff members were seen at their duty posts. The Chairman ASUU FUNAAB, Dr Adebayo Oni, described the level of compliance to the warning strike by members as 100 per cent. Oni said, “The level of compliance is 100 per cent. The strike has been declared and all members of our union have complied.
“We monitored them, we held our congress today and everybody complied.”
In Ondo State, members of ASUU of the universities in Ondo State have agreed to join their counterparts in other institutions. Three out of the four universities in Ondo State – the Federal University of Technology, Akure, the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and the Olusegun Agagu University of Technology, Okitipupa, said their members agreed to join the action.
During a visit to FUTA on Tuesday, it was observed that the normal academic activities were ongoing. Some lecturers said they had yet to have the directive from the chairman of their branch. The Chairman of ASUU in FUTA, Dr Olayinka Awopetu, explained that he just came back from the meeting where the decision to join the strike was taken, adding that FUTA would join the strike on Wednesday (today). He said, “The way ASUU works, when the (ASUU) President declares strike, every branch chairman is expected to go back to their branches and declare the commencement of the strike in that branch.
“The strike will commence in FUTA tomorrow (Wednesday). The people are in class now because they have not heard from the chairman.”
It was, however, gathered that the strike had already commenced in the AAUA and the OAUT. The Chairman, of the AAUA ASUU, Dr Simeon Ehiabhi, said Akungba was part of the strike. “The strike has commenced and we have communicated it to the university administration,” he said.
Similarly, the ASUU Chairman of OAUT, Dr Dipo Akomolafe, said the university had already joined the strike as directed by its national body. In the University of Lagos, our correspondent observed that some lecturers held classes on Tuesday. But the Chairman of ASUU of the branch, Dr Dele Ashiru, said its members have joined the nationwide strike. Ashiru said, “We have already joined the strike and we are 100 per cent behind our national leadership on this. If you know any lecturer who is still holding lecture, you can tell me.”
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, academic activities were paralysed on Tuesday as ASUU of the institution joined the strike declared by the union. The Chairman, UNIZIK chapter of ASUU, Stephen Uchenna, while addressing his members during the chapter’s congress, said the strike became imperative since the Federal Government failed to do anything about their demands. He said, “The strike is to compel the Federal Government to implement the long-awaited agreement of the Memorandum of Understanding of 2013 and the Memorandum of Action in 2019 which the Federal Government has failed to implement.”
Also, academic activities at the University of Abuja are gradually being affected as most lecturers had complied with the directive. “We have to comply with the strike because this Abuja is the ASUU headquarters and we have to lay an example of solidarity and common front. Academic activities have stopped and we await further directives from the union leaders,” a source said.
But the university’s spokesperson, Dr Habib Yakoob, said, “If ASUU declared a strike at the University of Abuja, I think it should have been on Tuesday. As I speak with you, it is still too early to tell whether the strike has affected anybody or not.”
However, checks on the campus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, revealed that academic activities held across faculties in the institution. For instance, students in the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, held lecture at the 1,000-seater lecture theatre on Tuesday. Also, students of Chemistry and Mathematics had lectures, as well as students of Environmental Engineering.
The National Secretary of Congress of University Academics, Dr Henry Oripeloye, said all CONUA members nationwide were not part of any industrial action. He said, “CONUA members are not on strike. We are going about our duties without any hitch.” OAU ASUU Chairman, Adeola Egbedokun, when contacted, said he was in a meeting.