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Nigerians lament declaration of indefinite strike by university teachers

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Sep 01, 2022 - 04:28 AM

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigerians on Wednesday lamented the declaration earlier this week of an indefinite total strike by university lecturers in the country.

Taiwo Amodu, a public servant and parent based in the capital Abuja, told Anadolu Agency that the announcement of a total strike will further exacerbate tensions among parents and university students.

“We are worried about the protracted closure of public universities in Nigeria. It is the insensitivity of the federal government,” he said.

Laide Nasir, an associate professor at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti, said the closure of universities in the country has a negative impact on students, teachers and parents.

“The students have lost much ground academically. Many of them have forgotten what they learnt in classes and research before the strike. Some have even lost interest in academic pursuit,” he said.

He also described the government’s suspension of their salaries since March as “wicked, adding this is affecting the economic well-being of the teachers and their dependents.

In a statement late Monday, the president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, announced the rollover of the nearly seven-month-long industrial dispute to a total and indefinite strike.

“The NEC resolved to transmute the strike to a comprehensive, total and indefinite action,” he said, referring to the union’s National Executive Council.

He said the lecturers resolved to continue their strike because the government was yet to honor an agreement reached between the two parties since 2017, without elaborating.

However, a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, said the government had taken all possible steps to end the strike.

“The government has already inaugurated a committee to harmonize the IPPIS, UTAS and UP3. This will ensure that the government will pay with only one payment platform that will harmonize all the technical peculiarities,” Goong said.

He was referring to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and UP3, a salary payment platform introduced by another union within the university system.

He said it was unreasonable for the strike to linger for over six months.

Nigerian public universities have been experiencing a crisis since 1993 over teachers’ wages, the financing of research, and other issues.

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