By Safiyanu Ladan
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike on February 14, 2022, following years of unresolved issues with the federal government. During the period, the union had on several occasions met with the federal government’s representatives headed by the labor and employment minister Chris Ngige with a clear aim of finding a long and lasting solution to the lingering problems, but to no avail. The meeting have always ended in deadlock.
Tired and frustrated, in September last year, the federal government through the ministry of labor and employment took the union to an industrial court, praying to the court among other things to order the universuty teachers to resume classes with immediate effect. The outcome of the court’s judgement favored the federal government. Paradoxically, the appellant court refused to entertain ASUU’s appeal, saying that the ubion must obey the lower court’s judgement of going back to classes.
The intervention of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila paved way for the lecturers to get a soft landing in what seemed like an unending fracas with the federal government.
The prolonged ASUU strike was now followed by a heavy price as the federal government reiterated that, the no-work-no-pay policy was duly applied to the striking workers. The federal government’s decision to withhold their salary generated heated debates and threats from ASUU, but government remained adamant. Closing down of Universities is at the detriment of students because they are always at the receiving end.
Having been tried but failed to convince the federal government to pay the arrears of the past eight months of ASUU members, the management of some universities have decided to compensate that with increment of students school fees. It’s no longer news that some universities have deliberately increased the tuition fees to more than 100 per cent.
It’s crystal clear that this increment will affect many students because their parents cannot afford to pay such amount of money as school fees. In the meantime, the mass exodus of students dropping out of the universities most especially in the north is imminent.
Safiyanu Ladan writes from Zaria via email@example.com