Nigerian public universities may lose a session as there seems to be no end in sight to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which is now seven months old.
Recall that the ongoing ASUU strike which grounded academic activities in public universities in the country started on February 14, 2022 and entered the seventh month yesterday, September 14, 2022.
The union is demanding the release of revitalization funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
The government claimed to have addressed most of the union’s demands, including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic staff of universities, but said the union had not paid the arrears debt of the strike period.
ASUU also insisted on not calling off the ongoing strike until the arrears are settled.
As the strike continues, the fate of students seeking admission to the country’s universities remains unknown as two new sets await the resumption of academic activities.
The first set of students, whose admission processes were completed last year, cannot resume, while another set of students took the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) this year.
With the development, two sets of new students, 2021 and 2022 are waiting to resume.
A lecturer at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) who spoke in an interview said most universities have two sets of students ready to resume the academic session. T
“Those admitted in 2021 had to resume early this year after the second semester examination, but were stopped due to the strike. Now another set of students sat for UTME this year and are waiting for admission processes.
“You know universities have been trying hard to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown, during which schools were closed, and now we have this prolonged ASUU strike. I really don’t know how it will be handled,” said the lecturer, who pleaded anonymity.
Meanwhile, the federal government, through the Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige, dragged the striking university lecturers before the National Industrial Court (NIC).
However, Justice Polycap Hamman adjourned the case on Monday, September 12, 2022 to enable both the Federal Government to file the necessary documents for the case.