ASUU STRIKES: Students, Parents, and Small Businesses Count Losses

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Senate Building, Bayero University Kano

Parents, students, and small businesses in universities are counting their losses upon the reopening of public universities nationwide following the suspension of ASUU’s eight-month strike.

Some are hopeful of concerted plans to end the incessant strikes, but business owners at various universities are mindful of their petty businesses that suffer as a result of the industrial actions.

Yakubu Garba, a final-year student at Yusuf Maitama Sule University was 23 when he gained admission in 2015.

Seven years after, the now 30-year-old is still a student at the state-owned institution and will be disallowed from participating in the one-year NYSC due to his age.

“I am happy that they have suspended the strike,” he said.

“Hopefully, I will be a graduate soon. But my problem now is I would not be able to go for NYSC because I am 30 years already.”

Abdul Muhammad, another student in a four-year program at Bayero University, Kano (BUK) has now spent about seven years without graduating.

He is presently concerned with the renewal of his N100,000 annual rent in the room in which he spent just one month before the ASUU last strike started on 14 February 2022.

“I got admission to study a four-year course.

“This is my seventh year in this school, thanks to the disagreement between the federal government and ASUU.

“My concern now is how to pay my house rent because it expires in December.”

Parents have as. Much bitter experiences to share as students.

“Three of my children are in the university and I paid for their rent earlier this year,” Adamu Saleh Daurawa told Nigeria Info.

“Now, I will pay for another rent.

“I will still buy new mattresses for them because their things were stolen during the strike.

“With this resumption, I will have to sell the maize I harvested to pay their rent.”

Owners of small businesses have suffered from the recent strike.

A photographer at BUK Coke Village went from making N15,000 daily to zero.

“Before the strike, I used to get more than N15,000 daily, especially when new students get admitted into the school.

“But look at me now, from N15,000 to zero kobo daily.”

Similarly, Shafi’u Muhammad who runs a photocopying and printing business at the university has had a miserable experience.

“The last eight months were not easy because we have families to care for and bills to pay,” he said.

“The little income we have, that was what we used for our survival. We just hope the government and ASUU will settle their differences.”

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has embarked on 17 strikes from 1999 to date, with a cumulative period of about 58 months over unresolved demands.

This means that the union has reportedly spent 1,620 days on strike since the return to democracy in 1999.

The chairman of ASUU at Bayero University, Professor Haruna Musa assured that no student will be victimized as a result of the non-payment of salaries during the period of the strike.

“As you are aware our lecturers are back in school, so we will try as much as possible to ensure that we continue from where we stopped,” he said.

“We will ensure that the students write their exams, and they will be released according to the school calendar.”

While ASUU and the federal government have a pending case in court and negotiations continue, the fears of more strikes remain.

Students, parents, and campus-based businesses are, however, hopeful of a sustainable solution to the dispute between Abuja and the lecturers.


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