Students Flee Campus & Lodges Deserted As ASUU Strike Lingers
It is no longer news that while other Universities across the country are bustling with academic activities, the state owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State has halted academic activities for approximately two weeks now, as a result of the ongoing industrial actions embarked upon by the University’s academic staff members under the umbrella of ASUU.
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You will recall that the chapter’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on Thursday the 25th of March, 2021 declared an indefinite and absolute strike with effect from midnight same day, owing to the salaries and other allowances owed them by the state’s government. Subsequent upon this, the University’s Student Union Government (SUG) led by Hon. Eghobamian Osamagbe in conjunction with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), on Thursday the 1st of April, organised a peaceful solidarity walk to register the students’ displeasures over the strike action as well as to demand it’s call off.
During the course of this development, the University’s Vice Chancellor prof.Ignatius A. Onimawo, in an address to the students praised them for their orderliness in the solidarity walk, and assured them that the strike would be called off soonest. More specifically, he promised the students that he will convane a meeting with the executives of the striking Asuu memmbers immediately after the Easter public holidays, precisely on Tuesday the 6th of April to ensure that the strike is called off. He further admonished the students to hang around and not travel in a hurry just yet, since the strike would soon end.
Despite the above assurance given to the students by the Vice Chancellor, it was however gathered that the chapter’s ASUU executives declined interest in any such meetings with the Vice Chancellor. Thus, the strike continues to linger unabated.
As a result of this, a great majority of the Ambrose Alli University students have given up hopes on any possible call off of the strike soon, and have decided to return home to their respective parents. In fact, when accosted, some of the students who are still around revealed that the only reason they are still here is because, either their parents have not sent them transport fare or because they just wanted to stay put till weekend before they travelled. On the other hand, a few others revealed that they are still around because they still have a few things keeping them in Ekpoma or probably because their home is too far, so they decided to take up some menial jobs to keep themselves engaged. However, each one of them confessed that the campus environment and their hostels are no longer as bustling as it used to be because very many students have all travelled back home. Some even said that it was just them or almost between three to four persons that are left in their hostels or lodges that were usually filled with students. Infact, “it seems to me like school is on a long holiday” one said, “like, the environment is gradually becoming lonely and deserted” the student added.
Lastly, the students appealed that the state’s governor should, in his good manners, respond to the demands of ASUU so that their lecturers could return to classes, “I mean, I want to graduate please. I’m just tired of this whole strike thing that has delayed our graduation since last year…”,a 400 level History student blurted in frustration.