Concerned students and lecturers of tertiary institutions affected by the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the South East have expressed delight with the suspension of the strike.
They made their feelings known in separate chat with Newsmen on Friday.
The students said the development was long overdue saying that “they were casualties of war”
Chimamkpa Onwubiko, a third year student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo, said that although the Union had valid reasons for the strike, the consequences were dire, especially as it affected the lives of many.
Onwubiko said that the break in academic activities severely limited the performance of students who ended up losing focus and only study to pass.
“A lot of us have become disenchanted with our education; the desire of most of us is to graduate in the shortest possible time and relocate abroad for higher degrees.
“With these strikes and the already poor standards in our universities, our focus has shifted. We desire greener pastures now,” he said.
Another student, Ms Peace Iwuala, while expressing happiness at the suspension of the strike, said it afforded her the opportunity to work in her field of study.
The student of Nutrition and Dietetics said she had worked in hospitals and hotels during the strike and had gained practical experience.
She commended the union however for sticking to their cause while hoping that the conditions for the suspension will be met.
Another undergraduate, Chukwudi Eze, appealed to the union to find other ways to register their discontent noting that a lot of people had suffered as a result of the strike.
He also appealed to the government to meet the union halfway and work out terms that will be satisfactory to both parties and avoid more strikes.
Similarly, a lecturer of the Department of Petroleum Engineering, FUTO, Mr Nnanna Okoli, expressed happiness that the strike had been called off even conditionally.
Okoli noted that he was especially happy for the students whose education had been interrupted for eight months and hoped that the federal government would take the necessary actions to prevent further interruptions.
“I am equally happy to go back to work after an eight month long strike; I only hope the federal government lives up to expectations to forestall any further interruptions in our tertiary institutions.
University students in Enugu State also expressed happiness over the decision by ASUU to call
off its eight months old strike.
Mr Nonso Ibe, a final year student of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndifu- Alike in Ebonyi, said he was short of words to express his happiness over the strike suspension.
“I am in my final year and about to finish my semester examination when lecturers commenced the strike,” he said.
Another 200 level student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Daniel Ofor, described ASUU decision as a welcome development as students would now resume normal academic activities soon.
Ofor, however, called on the Federal Government to keep to the agreements reached between it and the lecturers so as not to disrupt academic activities in the universities again.
Also, Some parents, who spoke to Newsmen on the issue expressed gratitude to ASUU and government for making it possible for academic activities to resume.
They, however, advised lecturers to always go for dialogue in resolving dispute rather than resorting to strike.
Mr Chijioke Madu, a parent, said it was a thing of joy that ASUU had called off its eight months strike for students to go back to school so asnot to continue wasting their youthful age at home.
Mrs Esther Agu, another parent urged the university lecturers to use other means in resolving issues with the Federal Government rather than going on strike.
Mr Michael Abuchi, President, Students Union Government (SUG), University of Nigeria Nsukka, (UNN) has lauded ASUU for suspending its nationwide strike embarked on February 14.
Abuchi said it was a cheering news for Nigerian students that, ASUU had considered the plight of students and appeals by Nigerians to suspend its 8-months old strike.
The students’ leader said that the strike paralysed academic activities in public universities as students had stayed at home since February 14.
“I commend the leadership of ASUU for considering the plight of students and appeals by Nigerians.
“I wish the returning students, God’s journey mercies back to their various universities, ” he said.
Abuchi however, urged Federal Government to abide by whatever agreement it reached with ASUU that led to the suspension of the strike to avoid ASUU going back to strike in future again.
A post-graduate student in the Mass Communication department, University of the UNN, Mr Uchechukwu Eze, said that the suspension of the strike was a serious relief to him.
Eze, who regretted that the industrial action had derailed and prolonged his programme, however, hinted that he would resume his academic activities immediately to round-up the programme.
He appealed to the union to finalise and resolve the remaining issues with the federal government, to avoid incessant and unnecessary disruption of academic activities in the university.
A final year student in UNN, Ms. Pamela Chigbu, noted that the suspension of the strike had relieved her hope of graduation, which she added had been prolonged.
Chigbu disclosed that she should have graduated in 2021 but was yet to finish her academic activities, including her examinations and project, and urged fellow undergraduates to resume immediately.
Meanwhile, some students in Abia, have expressed displeasure over the suspension of strike by the ASUU, saying that they have lost their zeal to go back to school.
A cross section of the students who spoke to pressmen in Umuahia, complained that they had almost called it quit with the country’s education system.
A student, who identified himself as Paul, and studying Veterinary Medicine at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), said that he was heartbroken over the suspension.
“I’m not happy that ASUU has suspended the strike, I’m heartbroken.
“I mistakenly deleted all the assignments and notes that were stored in PDF on my laptop during the strike.
“I don’t even have the zeal to go back to the classroom any longer because I’m fed up with Nigeria’s educational system.
The 200-level student said that he was already considering either processing his admission in a private university or travel abroad to continue his studies.
Another student, Miss Perpetual Okafor said that she was scared of the challenges she was going to face in the school.
According to her, I have a backlog of assignments and term papers that I was unable to complete before the strike and I have not done any of them till now that we are going back.
“We were writing our examination when the strike started, but now that it is over, I’m not prepared mentally to continue with the examination.
“I ventured into trade during strike and have been so occupied with business that I know longer have time for my studies,” she lamented.
A student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who gave his name as Uche, said that he was afraid he might not cope with the financial demands in the school.
“I came to Umuahia to so see if I could raise some money because I was not able to pay my tuition fee and other fees before the strike.
“Now that the strike is over, how do I clear those accumulated fees, including my rent that expired since May?,”he queried.
The ASUU, had on the early hours of Friday suspended its eight-month-old industrial action conditionally.
Noted that the union on Friday suspended the eight-month-old strike it embarked on Feb. 14.
The strike was in protest of the non-implementation of the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding reached with it by the Federal Government. (NAN)