By Abimbola Aderinola Dorcas
It is no longer news to Nigerians that the ongoing tension between the Academic Students University Union and the Federal Government is not the first of its kind. The is not the first time Nigerian students would go through this trauma, it is likely not going to be the last. We have had several cases of prolonged industrial actions and heated meetings from ASUU from time immemorial and frankly, Nigerians are not surprised anymore.
For the past eleven weeks, Nigerian Universities have been shut down and students’ education have been put to hold. Reason behind it?, Unsolved pent up cases and requests from ASUU that the Federal Government are yet to grant. Unsolved cases that has been prolonged for years – reopened and reagitated on – brought about a strike action that commenced on February 14th 2022 .
On May 2022, the Federal government said it was not aware there was any ongoing strike. After that declaration, news spread wide on social media about a sum of 452 million that was given to ASUU by the Government to grant their requests. Hope flared, students smiled, as they thought it will put an end to the strike and they could go back to getting an education. But like the saying goes; “anticipation is the bedrock of heartbreak.” The joy was short-lived as on Monday, 9th of May, 2022, news of the strike being rolled over by another 12 weeks spread like wildfire.
The question; when is this going to end? When will the fate and future of students not be put on the line because of the unsettled disputes? When will the education of students stop being the grass that suffers when the two elephants fight?
Children have been at home, some try to get busy, some learn skills, some look for jobs, some stay idle, but it is all at the expense of their education which is a basic human right and not a privilege.
At what point does the Federal Government prioritize education and pay major attention to it instead of turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the pleas and cries of Nigerian students? We are just trying to get an education. It shouldn’t take a lifetime.