By JOAN NWAGWU
ABUJA- A cross section of stakeholders have described the ‘comprehensive, total and indefinite’ strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) as ’devastating’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the stakeholders, who spoke to its correspondent on Tuesday in Abuja, said the strike that had lingered for over six months was becoming worrisome.
It would be recalled that the union had in a statement entitled “ASUU strikes are to save public universities”, declared a “comprehensive, total and indefinite” strike.
Mr Tony Chukwudi, a parent said the indefinite strike declared by the union was a devastating story for students, parents and Nigeria.
“For the students, the situation has put their future on hold; for parents, it has frustrated their plans and for the country, there is no future,” he said.
He however, called on ASUU to make concession on its own part, especially regarding funding of universities.
Chukwudi said that the idea of insisting government should fund universities alone was not realistic.
He added that there were global practices on the funding of universities, which can be adopted in Nigeria and ”this was the only way of making our schools competitive.”
Another concerned parent, Mr Dan Ugwu, called on the Federal Government and the university lecturers to return to negotiation table and take steps to implement their Dec. 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoU) on funding of tertiary education.
Ugwu said parents were tired of the ‘forward-and-backward trot’ of negotiations ”by the funding parties which had put the academic future of the university students and the nation’s economic prosperity in jeopardy.
”It was unnecessary for the Nigerian youths to suffer without end, when their counterparts in other institutions across the globe were getting fulfillment from their studentship.”
Ugwu added that it was obvious that they should now focus on how to get alternative funding.
“Since the main issue is how to fund their demands by FG, the university lecturers should as trainers of consultants help determine how a tripartite arrangement among higher institutions can be achieved.
“The public and private sectors can guarantee sustainable funds flow to education sector.
“It is on record that such proposal by ASUU in the past facilitated the creation of TETFund to narrow the infrastructure gaps in tertiary institutions across the country.
“Another panacea is needed now more than before due to paucity of funds to government with attendant corruption by the citizens, ’’he said.
Ugwu said that since the beginning of ASUU strike on Feb. 14, two sets of university students had lost valuable time sitting at home with high exposure to crimes and other vices.
According to him, ”I wonder how these students will turn out in future as graduates in an already degraded educational clime.
“Our children the future of tomorrow deserve better than this.”
Also, Mr Bobby Tobi, another parent told NAN that it was unfortunate that the education sector, especially the university system was plagued with myriad of problems.
Tobi said that the indefinite strike by the striking lectures and their claim to be dissatisfied with the Federal Government over response to its demands appeared to be ”no glimmer of hope for the Nigerian children.
“For a course of four years, students would spend six to seven years in Nigeria.
“This is not good for a country that is called the giant of Africa, we must ensure to do what is obtainable in other climes.”
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to ensure that it restores sanity in the university system.
Also, Miss Kamsi Daniel, a student, said that she was pained that ASUU did not call off the strike.
According to her, the news of the indefinite strike by ASUU ”shocked me, because all my hope about resuming school soon, was dashed once again.
“It is annoying in the sense that all other unions agitating in the struggle had suspended their strikes for two months to allow government start the implementation of the agreement entered with them.
“Why did ASUU refused to shift ground, are they saying that the different committees setup by the Federal Government have not met any of their demands, so why have they been attending such meetings.
“This not fair, they should be reconsidered, we are not finding it funny, they should allow us to go back to school and we are tired staying at home,” ’she said.(NAN)