A few weeks ago, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), as well as the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), embarked upon an industrial action against the Federal Government. During the period, academic and administrative activities were paralysed in many universities across the country. A cross-section of students, traders and commercial drivers in Abeokuta, spoke on their experiences while the strike action lasts. Excerpts:
Mr. Nurudeen Sotayo, a cab operator, plying the Camp area to FUNAAB campus said the effect of the strike was enormous on their businesses, as there were no passengers to pick. He thanked God that full academic and commercial activities would now be restored. On his part, Mr. Ernest Chukwuka, another cab operator near the University Ceremonial Gate, confirmed that the absence of students on campus was a big minus to their profession. He advised government to live up to its responsibilities, charging labour unions to always engage government, constructively.
Mr. Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, a 300-level student in the Department of Microbiology, College of Biological Sciences (COLBIOS), opined that the strike had led to another loss of time and resources. He pleaded with the government to consider the plight of Nigerian youths while dealing with staff unions in future. For Miss Tolulope Idowu, strike action was becoming endemic in the country. She expressed her concerns for final year students, who might have lost some precious time. The 300-level student in the Department of Biochemistry (COLBIOS), appealed to both the Federal Government and the staff unions to settle their rifts, amicably.
Another business centre operator, Mr. Adekunle Aina, decried strike actions in the nation’s universities, saying they had become a recurring decimal over the years. He said the development was detrimental to both academic and business activities on campus. A former student of FUNAAB and Managing Director, Paradise Digital World, Mr. Aina said he would love to see government adopting pro-active measures to address issues with workers rather than allow things to go out of hand before taking steps. A food seller, Mrs. Oluwapelumi Adeola, popularly called ‘Iya Pelumi’, called on those in positions of authority to do the needful, so that strikes could be minimised while full normalcy would be returned to the campuses. For her, strike action should be the last resort even though, over the years, many agitators appeared to get what they wanted after embarking on industrial actions.