Latest ASUU Strike Update Today 19 May 2022

Nigeria ASUU Strike 2022: The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and other students groups yesterday continued their nationwide strike. They want President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the ongoing industrial action in the federal universities.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Joint Action Committee of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities had said the Federal Government did not reach a strong agreement with them that could lead to their calling off the industrial actions.

ASUU started its strike on February 14 and JAC commenced its on April 14.

The unions embarked on industrial actions for improved welfare, better working conditions and implementation of the various labour agreements they signed with the Federal Government between 2009 and 2020.

According to reports, protesting students came out in large numbers blocking major roads in some cities in Oyo, Edo, and Ondo states as a result of several failed negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government. But, motorists and commuters, however, suffered due to gridlock created by the students.

The demonstrations came a week after NANS leadership declared a mass action tagged: “Operation Test Run” in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It directed its members and organs to block federal roads in protest against the continued shutdown of public universities.

When Oyo witnessed students’ anger

On Tuesday, protesting students of the University of Ibadan (UI) blocked the school’s entrance in the Oyo State capital. Those from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho barricaded the major road along where the institution is located.

At the University of Ibadan main gate at 8.00 a.m., the NANS Vice President in the Southwest, Oladimeji Adesoji, led other students, along with Adeyinka Adewole, the Students’ Union President, UI, on peaceful protest round major roads in the state capital.

The students had insisted on entering the premises of the Federal Secretariat and vowed to stay there till the close of work.

But, some directors later pacified the students to stay outside the gate, assuring them that their grievances would be forwarded to the appropriate authorities.

Adesoji urged the Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis between it and ASUU.

He said this became imperative because students were frustrated with the development in the education sector.

“We want the President to come out and address us as a father and a parent; that is our first demand.

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“Also, the Federal Government should increase the budgetary allocation to education to meet the UNESCO’s standard, which is 26 per cent.

“There should be frequent dialogue with ASUU, which is a key stakeholder in the educational system at the tertiary level to identify the gaps in the system,” he said.

Soldiers disperse protesting students in Ondo

Unlike the peaceful reception the protesting students received in Oyo State, many students and passersby were injured when soldiers dispersed protesters who have occupied the Ilesha-Akure-Owo highway over the prolonged strike.

According to reports, the students from tertiary institutions had blocked the highway with canopies and set up a musical stage. To show their seriousness, they also brought gas and pots for cooking on the highway.

But, some soldiers who were passing through the state approached the students to allow them pass through the highway. The students’ leaders insisted the soldiers would not pass.

The soldiers were enraged by the students’ effrontery and started firing into the air to disperse them. The students fled the scene as passersby and stranded motorists abandoned their vehicles. The canopies and musical sets mounted by thestudents were destroyed and traffic was restored.

However, a source at the 32 Artillery Brigade in Akure said the soldiers were not from the command.

Some of the students who spoke said the number of injured students was yet to be ascertained.

Reacting to the attack by soldiers, the Chairman of the Ondo State axis of the Joint Campus Committee (JCC) of NANS, Surprise Omotosho, said the military men allegedly came to the protest ground and “immediately started shooting indiscriminately”.

“You can ask other security men on the ground- the police, Amotekun and even road safety officials, they will all tell you that we were peaceful enough. That will not deter us; we will continue to either stay on the road or in our classrooms. The government has to choose one.”

The director of the Nigerian army public relations, Onyema Nwachukwu, a major general, in a terse response to our reporter’s inquiry, denied knowledge of the incident but promised to find out.

Protesting students block Sagamu-Benin Expressway

Obeying the directive of NANS leadership, students in Ogun State on Monday blocked the Sagamu-Benin Expressway in protest against the ASUU strike. Students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye; Tai Solarin University of Education, Science and Technology (TASUED), Ijagun and Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta organised the protest.

At the TASUED axis of the road, the students, who displayed placards with inscriptions like “#End ASUU strike now#”, “ We say no to educational stagnancy”, “We are tired of deadlock meetings”and “Education should not be this difficult”, blocked the expressway, leaving many motorists stranded and travellers trapped.

NANS Chairman in the state, Damilola Simeon, appealed to the Federal Government to respond to the yearnings of ASUU. He stressed that it was high time the government and ASUU agreed to end the strike to enable students resume their studies.

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UNIBEN students mount roadblock to protest ASUU strike

Scores of UNIBEN students barricaded the busy Benin-Ore-Sagamu road to protest the industrial action.

Chanting slogans and solidarity songs like “Aluta continua…” and “education is our right,” among others, the students at their Ugbowo campus of the university expressed their frustration over the incessant strike. They urged the government to accept ASUU demands.

Some of the protesting students turned the highway into a football field, playing in sets while their leaders were sharing bottles of water, soft drinks, pies and doughnuts to the demonstrators for refreshment.

The students’action caused a gridlock on the highway for about four hours, forcing many motorists to avoid the route.

Many passengers were also stranded as they walked a long distance before getting vehicles to their destinations.

UNILORIN students threaten shutdown

The students of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), who staged a peaceful protest over the extension of the warning strike, indicated of a sad day for students ahead.

Their President, Mr. Taofeek Opeyemi, said the protest was to sensitise the government that they were disheartened by “what is happening between the government and ASUU”.

He said: “We are tired of staying at home. Some of us that are supposed to graduate are spending more years.

“We understand that the Federal Government and ASUU are meeting and if nothing is achieved, we shall mobilise members of NANS and other institutions such as polytechnics and colleges of educations to join the protest. We shall shut all activities in the state until our demands are met.’’

The association’s General Secretary, Mr. Isaac Adewale, declared that students were not happy about the strike. According to him, education is not a privilege but the right of every child. He added that the government must do everything possible to revamp the sector.

Adewale demanded that campuses be re-opened to avert any youth restiveness, appealing to the Federal Government to emulate advanced nations on the progress made in education.

Kano: Students appeal for dialogue

In Kano State, students of the tertiary institutions urged the Federal Government to dialogue with the ASUU to end the ongoing strike.

During the protest, the students carried placards with various inscriptions and went round some areas in the city, expressing their displeasure over the strike.

Their leader, Yazid Tanko, said they embarked on the protest to show their displeasure to the Federal Government over the strike, which he said, “is always causing a setback to their education”.

“We are indigenes of Kano State, and we are schooling in Kano State. That is why we went to the Ministry for Higher Education to show our grievances, so that they will convey our message to the Federal Government.

“Actually, we are not benefiting from this strike because at the end of the day, government officials get paid, ASUU members will get paid, while the students become victims.

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“A student who is supposed to graduate in four years will have to spend six years because of the strike. This is quite unfortunate, we are not happy with that.

“We are calling on the Federal Government and ASUU to consider that we are your children, consider our future,” he said.

Students hold peaceful protest in Jos

In an earlier protest, before the NANS’directive, university students in Plateau State staged a peaceful protest in Jos over the ongoing strike.

Public Relations Officer (PRO), NANS Zone C, Na’allah Nanzim, who spoke during the protest, said the peaceful protest was basically to express students’ grievances over the incessant strikes by ASUU.

According to Nanzim, the protest was also to intimate both the government and ASUU that education is the right of every child, hence the need for them to find a common ground.

“We are actually here to express our grievances to the federal government and ASUU over the incessant strikes.

“We are here to make a statement that education is a right and the consistent strikes are gradually killing the education system in Nigeria.

“We want the Federal Government to know that we are critical stakeholders in the education sector and these strikes are really affecting our academic journey.

“When ASUU and the government have issues, it’s the students that suffer and this protest is to show how unhappy we are over the regular strikes,” he said.

The waiting game continues

As the students continue their protests, the waiting game continue between the ASUU and the Federal Government negotiation teams.

But the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, at the resumed talks with the striking university teachers few days ago, appealed to them to shelve their industrial actions while negotiations continue.

The presidential aide, a former university don, said it was regrettable that academic calendar could no longer be predicted in public universities. He added that no nation could develop without predictable quality of education.

Co-chair at the meeting, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, also pleaded with the university workers to return to their desks so that the students could be meaningfully engaged, especially ahead of the 2023 elections.

He fears that idle hands may be used by desperate politicians to foment crisis ahead the elections.

Both men agreed that it would be dangerous to allow students remain idle for another three months.

Also, Buhari, last week, appealed ASUU to consider the plight of students and call off the strike.

The president also urged students in public tertiary institutions to exercise patience as the government strives to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the available resources

He noted that he had earlier directed the Chief of Staff, Ministers of Labour and Employment; Education; and Finance, Budget and National Planning to bring all parties to the negotiation table to look at the grey areas in the demands of ASUU and other university-based labour unions.

But, who will blink first between the unions and the Federal Government is yet to be seen.

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