By FUNMILAYO ADEYEMI
ABUJA- Some stakeholders in the education sector have continued to deep express worry over the lingering crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
They said that the face-off had crippled the livelihood of the people around the universities.
The stakeholders, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, called for immediate resolutions so that students would return to their classrooms.
An educationist, Mr Olaniyi Olawade said the effect of the strike had brought untold hardship on the youths, business owners and had affected the economy of residence where institutions were located.
Olawade said that many students had lost focus and were getting involved in so many criminal activities capable of shortchanging their destinies.
According to him, many who earn a living from businesses around the school communities cannot do anything again and have resorted to living unproductive lives.
“The effects of ASUU strike on the youth of this nation is quite enormous. It has adverse effect on their present and future endeavours as it makes them unproductive and lazy.
“The strike has done more harm in wasting the precious time of the students and making the youths to become unscrupulous and to lose hope in this country,” he said.
Olawade said that the four months strike had grounded the productive academic sector and other aspects of the economy of the nation.
“Also, those that are not in the academics but earn their daily bread by selling stuff to the students and academic communities are not finding things easy this period.
“We are pleading with the government and the academics to sheath their sword and allow peace to reign so that this matter can be resolved once and for all as the students are the most affected by the crisis,” he added.
A civil servant and a mother of three, Mrs Damilola Bankole said that the strike had drawn back the academic progress of students as compared with their colleagues from other climes.
Bankole called on the government to wade into the situation by attending to the needs of these universities lecturers, while looking for alternative preventive methods to avoid such crisis in the future.
“One of the major effect of ASUU strike on Nigerian universities is the fact that it’s going to draw us back. The academic calendar has been drawn backward and for it to pick up again, it will take a lot of time.
“Apart from this, it is also going to have a great effect on the smooth transition from secondary school to higher institutions.
“This is because some students have just concluded writing their WAEC and JAMB examinations and have applied to these universities but as it stands, nothing can be done as they have to be on the queue.
“And when there is a queue in the education system of a country, it leads to crimes and other moral decadence in the society because a child who waits more than necessary will be involved in unscrupulous acts,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take charge and speed up the process of resolving the ongoing trade dispute with ASUU and other unions.
Edoumiekumo is also the Chairman of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU).
He said that a drastic action must be taken to stem the haemorrhage that the system was currently witnessing for the sake of the Nigerian children.
” I have said that the president should speed up the whole process, take over everything and take a concrete decision and that is even now, so that our students who are at home will be back on campuses.
“So, we are calling on Mr President to speed up action, so that we call off the strike, and the students can come back to campus,” he said.
A political analyst, Mr Rotimi Lawrence said that the lingering strike should be addressed as it had caused not only a national embarrassment but monumental loss of human capital to the country.
Lawrence said that if nothing was done to address industrial disputes in the tertiary institutions, it would continue to affect the global rating of public ivory tower.
Miss Favour Rotimi, a student of Federal University, Oye Ekiti, said that many students were frustrated as a result of the strike and want immediate solution so that they could return to their schools.
Rotimi said that the effect of the strike was enormous as some female students were now involved in the act of prostituting, while some had been impregnated.
” We have been at home in the last four months. Many of us tried to get menial jobs to do but we can’t get it when even graduates are still hunting for jobs.
“I will not blame any students who have decided to look for money through other means. What I think the government can do is to facilitate this dialogue with the lecturers so that we can all have our peace as a nation.
” Yes, it is true that the lecturers are demanding for their welfare and the welfare of the university system as a whole.
“This is not too big for them to ask. We don’t take education seriously as a country and this will continue to affect us even on the global scene,” Rotimi said.(NAN)