Anger heightens over FG’s handling of ASUU strike –

Many Nigerians have scored President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet team low for the ways and manners they have handled the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike over the past five months.

On February 14, 2022, ASUU declared a 30-day warning strike to allow the federal government opportunity to address some nagging issues affecting the union such as the choice of payment platform, and non-payment of earned allowances, among others.

Busayo Adeounmu, a senior lecturer at Covenant University, Ota believes that the federal government is not proactive in its approach to tackling the issue.

“I will score them a negative score if I am to grade them. If their children are among those sitting at home for like 6months they would have taken bold steps to address and tackle the issue with ASUU. Even if ASUU has some fault, I will give the FG 100percent of the blame because the government should know how to make every sector in the economy run effectively and efficiently.

“ Students being at home for so long a time have a negative effect on the education sector as it water down the standard in a way because some aspect of the curriculum may no longer be covered on resumption and aspect covered earlier would have been forgotten by the students. The employment level in the country is also at stake because the majority will be above the required employment age in some sectors thereby pushing them to the informal sectors

“It also increases the crime rate in the economy as we know that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. It increases cybercrime, bunkery, stealing, etc. Education is vital and important for the development of any economy so if the government actually want the country to achieve sustainable development goals, ASUU strike must be addressed instead of just focusing on 2023 election campaign,” she said.

Read also: ASUU strike: NUPENG to down tools if FG fails to act fast

Adeounmu wondered what the hope of the future leaders would be after being kept in school for years without graduating from a 4-7year course of study, while a person can buy a presidential form from a party at 100m.

“Let the government address the problem of the helpless Nigerian youth that cannot afford a private school or travel out to get their degrees. Let the government know that the children of the poor they failed to train (educate) will not allow their children to live,” she said.

Nigerians had thought that the lecturers would be called back to the classrooms within some weeks of the industrial action, but it is now 5months (22weeks or 151days) today, still counting without any indication it is ending soonest.

This worrisome development came at the heel of ASUU’s huge timeline of strikes under the Muhammadu Buhari led-administration.

A closer look at President Buhari’s government, and numbers of ASUU’s strike since its inception in 2015speaks for itself.

In 2016, we had the first baptism of the ASUU strike which lasted for 7 days and in 2017 the punishment was upgraded to 35days of ASUU strike. In 2018, ASUU downed tools for 19 days and this continued till February 8, 2019, and in 2020, the strike lasted for a whopping 9 months.

For Bamidele Okuwoga, a legal practitioner the federal government is to be scored 20percent because according to him,

“The government entered into a written agreement only for them to repudiate on the basis that the terms were not achievable. That is poor administration and poor judgment.

On the payment platform, the government is discriminatory by allowing other agencies and departments to have separate payment platforms, such as DPR, CBN etc while insisting on IPPS for others.”

ASUU is demanding among other things that the federal government desist from implementing the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which according to the lecturers negates the autonomy policy for the universities, and in its place endorses the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

In a bit to address the issue, the federal government inaugurated a committee led by Nimi Briggs on March 7 with a three-month mandate to renegotiate the 2009 ASUU/federal government agreement, which did not yield any positive outcome.

Anthonia Ochie, a concerned youth felt the federal government does not deserve any score at all for the pains it has caused many Nigerians.

“The children of the politicians are busy graduating from universities abroad, while public universities in Nigeria are on strike; what is there to grade them for? In fact, I will score the government -0percent for being inactive,” she stated.

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