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ASUU Strike: Students React To Court’s Order Directing ASUU To Suspend Strike

On the 21st of September, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its strike on the basis that it is in the national interest, as students have been at home for over seven months.

However, the court order which was given by Justice Polycarp Hamman in Abuja has not succeeded in achieving what Nigerian students are dying for; an immediate decision by ASUU to call off its strike.

An interview with a cross-section of Nigerian students, who have been affected by the ongoing strike for over seven months, has revealed that most students are afraid of what would become of them following the court order, especially when lecturers are yet to be paid their 6 months salaries by the Federal Government.

Abimbola Salaudeen, a 300-Level Agriculture student at the University of Ilorin, shared that lecturers would unleash anger on the students if they were forced to resume without their salaries.

“A lecturer that has not been paid his or her salary for seven months will, of course, not come to class with a happy face, so they will tend to unleash their anger into how they teach or probably reduce the quality of their teaching,” she said

Salaudeen said for lecturers not to have been paid for seven months is saddening.

“This will affect students drastically in terms of quality of lectures, reduced tests, exam as hard as possible, and this could affect students’ mental health,” she said.

Grace Ogunleye, a 200-Level Microbiology student at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), said hungry lecturers could not lecture on an empty stomach.

“A hungry man is an angry man. If the lecturers are not paid, they will be hungry and angry, and everything will be affected. It will be hard for students to cope with angry lecturers that are hungry.”

Olawale Olaleye, a 300-Level Public Administration student at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), said the court order on ASUU might be counterproductive.

“Even when these lecturers were paid their salaries, some of them still performed their duties in a lacklustre manner, impacting little or no knowledge, talkless of now when there is no salary, no motivation.”

Olaleye noted that the situation for students will be unpalatable because they will be the ones at the receiving end when lecturers probably resume without their salaries.

A 300-Level Environment and Agric Engineering student at the University of Ibadan (UI), Oluwadamilare Lawal, said when he got the news that the court had ordered ASUU to resume, he was excited, but when he heard they had not been paid, he lost his excitement.

“When we look at it now, it is favourable, but in the long run, it will not be pleasing to the students. You cannot expect a lecturer who has sat at home for six months unpaid and forced back to the classroom to come and teach with joy. It is barbaric. Nobody in his right senses would do that,” he said.

Oluwateniola Adeniran, a 400-Level Business Administration student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said he is sure lecturers will not give their best if they eventually resume without their salaries.

Adeniran said if the Federal Government refuses to pay ASUU, some of the lecturers might not come to classes. Even if they come to classes, they will not teach like they would have done if they were paid their salaries.

“Most of us usually complain that our lecturers do not take a particular course well or they just give materials, and they are done with teaching. What do we think will happen when they are not paid salaries and are forced to work? They won’t be effective, and they can even mark us down in anger,” he said.

Genesis Le-Ashbel, a 400L Mass Communication student at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), said she has a strong feeling that if lecturers resume receiving without their salaries, they will not give their best.

“In my own opinion, I feel that these lecturers will not give their best unless, let’s say, FG pays them before they resume. Even when the Federal Government was paying them, they were not giving their best not to think of when FG had not paid them,” she said.

Le-Ashbel said only those with the fear of God would do their work according to how they are supposed to do it.

“Those that are angry and don’t have the fear of God will transfer their aggression to the students,” she said.

A 300-Level English Language and Literary Studies student at the University of Ilorin, Beatrice Afolayan, said it is a bad idea if lecturers should resume without being paid their seven months’ salaries as students would be affected.

“To begin with, some of these lecturers are lazy. On a norm that they were being paid, they still won’t attend classes, and if they do, it’s either they tell you their life history, or give you a series of assignments, group works, projects, and the likes. Give tests, then set exam questions about nothing that was taught with the hope of you being able to read on your own (I’m not disputing the fact that you shouldn’t study alone, but at times, what you’re not taught, you might not understand),” she said.

Afolayan said if lecturers were not paid, the educational system would worsen, and the universities would be filled with furious lecturers.

“But if the FG can give them the total assurance that they will be paid on resumption, I’m sure the academic year will not be a bad one,” she said.

Evelyn Ehimiaghe, a 400-Level Library and Information Science at Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), said she just wants to go back to school to finish her final year, but she does not want to be a scapegoat to any lecturer.

“They are human beings. They need money, and they have expenses. As much as I want to go back to school to finish up my year, I don’t want to be a scapegoat to any lecturer just because governments have refused to pay ASUU their salaries,” she said.

Ayodele Elijah, a 200-Level student of History and International Studies at the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), said the zeal to impact students was very low.

“The zeal to impact students will be minimised and also withholding their salary would have a psychological effect on their teaching position process more like depression and loss of passion,” he said.

Ifeoluwa Osogbon, a 200-level Industrial and Production Engineering student at the Federal University of Technology Akure, said he does not want to resume until the demands of ASUU are met.

“I don’t even want us to resume until the lecturers are satisfied (for my CGPA sake). Because only when they’re in their right mind (no insult intended) will they give their best to lecture us,” he said.

Osogbon said the imagination of receiving lectures from unhappy lecturers makes him anxious.

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