Earlier today, 16th of October, the Students of the University of Uyo came out in their numbers in solidarity with several other Federal Institutions across the country to demonstrate peacefully and express their dissatisfaction on the state of things in the Nation’s education system specifically, the #AsuuStrike which has become ‘a yearly festival’ over the years at the detriment of academic calendars.
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU have been on strike for more than 6 months now. Just before the Corona Virus pandemic broke out in the country, they had embarked on a two weeks warning strike and just after the nationwide lockdown was declared, they made the strike indefinite.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been managed to a very good extent in the country and life returning to almost normal in the country. Schools in the Basic Education and Secondary (High) School levels have resumed nationwide. Privates institutions and state owned schools, including Universities have been in session since 21st of September, 2020; Unity colleges just joined the list of educational institutions currently operating on 12th October, 2020.
But with all these institutions open and fully running, students in tertiary institutions being run by Federal government are still spending time at home or looking for where to attach themselves for little stipends so as not to be idle. This is because academic staff in these institutions, by the directives of their mother union, ASUU is on an indefinite strike. ASUU cited the reluctance of the Federal Government to stand by the agreements it signed last year when they ended their 5 months strike. They also cited the fact that government is forcing them to register under integrated payroll and personnel information system (IPPIS) which invariably means loosing their autonomy. The current state of Universities in the country was included as a reason for the industrial action too.
According to the leadership of the Unions which held a protest today – NANS Zone B and SUG Uniuyo, the only motive behind the peaceful demonstration is to communicate soundly, to the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve whatsoever grievances that may be and find lasting solutions to problems hindering the progress of Schools in Nigeria.
The Peaceful demonstration which also featured a word press briefing had in attendance Comrade Akwaowo Clifford the SA to the Governor on students’ matters who also doubled as a representative of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel.
Indeed, the Students of the University of Uyo have today, shown to the world that there are alternative measures in expressing grievances without rancor.