Empty lecture halls in UNN as ASUU’s two weeks warning strike lingers

By Blessing Udeobasi 

Following the two weeks warning strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday, the Nsukka chapter of the union on Tuesday deployed a monitoring patrol team around the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) campus to ensure strict compliance with the directive.

This is coming at a time when the institution is still trying to normalise it’s academic calendar which was adversely affected by the last strike action.

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The patrol team led by the chairman of the Nsukka chapter of the union was seen invading lecture halls to fish out defaulting lecturers.

The team nodded in approval and warned that any lecturer seen in class will be harassed and thrown out.

A visit around the university environment by this reporter showed that the school which is usually packed with students and staff hurrying to and from lecture halls and offices respectively was met almost empty and dry.

Parking lots which are usually filled with cars were also almost empty.

Few lecturers who managed to be in school were seated in their offices unable,t discharge their duties as a result of the strike.  Similarly, students were seen going back to their respective residents after being met with empty lecture halls.

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ASUU had on Monday declared a two-week warning strike to protest the non-payment of salaries of lecturers not enrolled in the Federal Government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

The academic body had also cited non-fulfilment of the 2009, 2013,2017 and 2019 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached with the union by the the federal government as reason for its decision.

Meanwhile, some students of UNN have expressed their views about the ongoing strike action, explaining how it’s likely going to affect them.

According to Victor Akuma, a final year student of the department of mass communication, the ASUU patrol team comprising of about 10 men who entered their class room enquired if any lecture was going on which they replied in the negative.

To Victor Akuma, news of the strike came as a relief to him as it will afford him ample time to work on his project as a final year student and also attend to other things.

Favour Ogechi, a 100 level student of physiology of the institution said the strike came at the right time when fellow first year students like her are yearning to go back home to reunite with their loved ones whom they left a long time ago.

She therefore hopes the strike doesn’t exceed the two weeks as announced. This is because most of their parents are affected by the strike and non payment of parents’ salaries would mean that they too will not be getting any money with which to sustain themselves in school.

Similarly, Mercy Obasi, a 100 level student of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages said she’s not happy about the strike as it would mean doubled academic pressure on the students when the strike is eventually called off since they would be required to start examinations almost immediately.

She disclosed that some of their lecturers came to class earlier to inform them of the strike asking them to go home as there would be no lectures until the strike is called off.

When contacted, the Nsukka ASUU chairman turned down request to comment on the development.

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