Nigeria may have lost billions of naira to strike in universities’ system
By Tasie Theodore
As Nigerian universities get set to reopen following an announcement from the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, that it has provisionally called off the strike action it had sustained in the past nine months, a The Difference news investigation has revealed that the nation has lost several billions of naira on account of the industrial dispute that had crippled the public universities’ system.
Addressing a press conference on the subject on Wednesday, ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi had thanked parents, students and other stakeholders who had endured the pains of the period, stressing that it was done to ensure a healthier university system going forward.
Ogunyemi equally condemned the action of some university administrators who had permitted themselves to be used in efforts aimed at prematurely breaking the strike and hoped that the Nigerian authorities would keep to their side of the bargain so that the lecturers would not be forced to return to the trenches once again.
According to The Difference checks, the current strike action has already led to massive losses to the nation, with virtually one academic session lost by students. Others who have suffered direct losses include lecturers who were largely unpaid during the period theat the strike lasted, food vendors, accommodation providers, transporters, shop-owners and other providers of services within the university ecosystem.
And notwithstanding the news of the strike being called off, there however remain concerns over the level of preparedness of different universities to schedule individual re-opening days in the light of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic, more so when many of the schools have inadequate infrastructure and are generally known to be overcrowded.
Private universities in the country had continued to carry on with the bulk of their teaching schedules during the strike season but they account for just about six percent of the total number of students in the country’s tertiary educational system.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo