578-day Strikes: The Academic Staff Union of Universities has raised the alarm over the exodus of lecturers from the nation’s universities for greener pastures abroad.
The union blamed the change on the Federal Government’s mistreatment of its members, which it claimed led many of them to seek out alternative means of support.
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the national president of ASUU, bemoaned the fact that many professors had turned to farming and other forms of economic activity while a sizable number had fled the nation.
Osodeke spoke in response to the government’s rejection of some of their requests, such as the payment of the seven months’ worth of accumulated salary backlog.
The union had embarked on four strikes totaling 578-day Strikes under the Muhammadu Buhari regime. The current strike by ASUU started on February 14, 2022, and entered its day 188 on Monday.
In 2017, the union went on strike for 30 days; in 2018, the lecturers shunned work for 90 days while in 2020, the public universities were shut down for 270 days.
ASUU accused the government of failing to release the revitalisation funds for universities; failure to deploy the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.
ASUU had also demanded the release of earned allowances for its members; release of the whitepaper report of visitation panels to universities and renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/2009 agreement.
Speaking on the mass exile of lecturers from the university system, Osodeke stated, “So many lecturers are leaving to engage in farming and others; lecturers are tired of the treatment they’re receiving from the government and because of this, they are looking for alternatives. So many more will leave even after the strike too.
‘’I pity the country; Nigeria will be the loser for it. Instead of coming to the table; look at how they will solve the issue, rather, they believe in punishing lecturers. It’s so sad. Your lecturers went on strike, you believe they will become hungry and come back to beg. Many lecturers will also leave to venture into other areas; some are also looking at becoming self-employed.”