Varsities’ lecturers, others spend 719 days on strike under Buhari

Lecturers in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education have embarked on no fewer than 719 days of strike since the inception of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in May 2015.

An analysis of activities in the tertiary education sector, carried out by our correspondent on Wednesday, revealed this.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities is currently on strike in protest against members’ poor welfare and lack of adequate funds for universities among others.

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union are also currently on strike based on similar issues.

The analysis showed that in January 2017, ASUP, under the then National President, Usman Dutse, embarked on a seven-day warning strike from January 30, 2017 to February 5, 2017.

Also, ASUU declared an indefinite strike on August 17, 2017 over unresolved and contentious issues with the Federal Government. The strike was called off on September 17, 2017.

Few days after the suspension of the strike by ASUU, lecturers in polytechnics on November 11, 2017 announced another strike which lasted for 15 days. The strike was called off on November 29, 2017.

In 2018, lecturers in Colleges of Education took the lead when COEASU embarked on strike on October 9, 2018.

The strike was called off on December 5, 2018.

ASUU embarked on a three-month nationwide strike on November 4, 2018, due to the Federal Government’s alleged inaction.

The strike was suspended on the February 7, 2019.

Similarly, ASUP went on strike again on December 12, 2018. The strike was called off on February 13, 2019.

In 2020, ASUU initially embarked on a two-week warning strike, in March 2020, over the government’s failure to implement its 2019 agreement and resolution with the union.

The strike lasted over nine months due to the pandemic and the unresponsiveness of the government to the academic body, making it one of the longest ever.

It was called off in December 2020.

While other academic unions did not go on strike in 2021, ASUP embarked on a 65-day strike. The strike, which commenced on April 6, 2021, was called off on June 9, 2021.

So far in 2022, while COEASU just announced the commencement of a four-week strike, ASUP went on strike for two weeks, while ASUU has been on strike for close to 122 days, leading to a collapse in the tertiary education sector.

War on youths

The National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the inability of the government to solve the crises in public institutions is a war on youths.

“The government’s inability to resolve the industrial crisis in the public universities whereby over 70% of youths attend because they are from poor backgrounds is a direct declaration of war on the youths,” he said.

Not as simple

Meanwhile, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, says the ongoing strike by ASUU and three other unions is not as simple as most Nigerians think.

Speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, the minister said, “I wish that the ASUU issue is as simple as many of us think it is. I don’t think it’s that simple. But I want to assure you that a lot is going on behind the scenes.”

He noted that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, is better positioned to give the details.


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