EDUCATION

As ASUU’s 5-month strike lingers, lecturers tell survival tales

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It is over 140 days since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on another industrial action. In this report, Daily Trust Saturday spoke to some lecturers on how they have survived without salaries for months, amidst growing inflation in the country.

 

Life has been difficult for most lectures in Nigeria’s public universities as the federal government responded to their strike with no-work-no-pay directive. However, the lecturers, through their umbrella body, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), have remained resolute despite the difficulties they are experiencing. Since ASUU declared its initial four-week strike on February 14, it has continued to roll over till date, while other unions, including the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) also declared nationwide strikes, thus, paralysing both academic and non-academic activities for months. In Kano, some of the striking lecturers, who spoke to Daily Trust Saturday, decried how the strike had been affecting their lives. Dr Ruqayya Yusuf Aliyu, a lecturer in Bayero University, Kano (BUK), a mother and wife, said with her knowledge and experience, she now rendered consultancy services to people and organisations.

 

“It has not been easy. Members devise their coping strategies through different means. I have been engaging in consultancies,” she said.

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Her family members, particularly her husband, have been great supporters to enable her survive the strike, she said, adding that the “experience of married females (those married to responsible husbands) is even better, but for the males, it has been hell and pathetic.” She, however, insisted that despite their difficult situation, the strike should continue until their demands are met. For Dr Muhammad Hashim Suleiman of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the federal government does not follow the law aptly. “The government, being the lawbreaker, decides which aspect of the law to enforce.

 

The law states that you can activate no-work-no-pay policy after 90 days, that is three months, but whenever ASUU is on strike, the government feels they can intimidate us with hunger.

 

“We started the strike and non-academic staff joined, but they have been paying them while they have stopped paying members of ASUU and NAATS for four months now. We don’t know which law they are applying. Two different rules for the same people; we are all university staff,” he said.

 

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