Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Students of Taraba State University Jalingo have expressed anger and frustration after the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike action again.
Chairman of the ASUU in the institution, Dr. Reuben Jonathan, said that strike was a resumption of the action it suspended in 2015 to give the Governor Darius Ishaku administration room to look into their demands and address them appropriately.
Jonathan said that the Union had embarked on the strike action in 2015 to press home their demands but the newly sworn in governor asked them to suspend the strike and give him time to settle down and look into their demands.
He regretted that almost three years after obliging the governor his request, nothing has been done and the government has not shown any seriousness in addressing the issues or even engaging the union in serious negotiations.
His words, “This is not a new strike. It is just a resumption of the strike action we suspended in 2015 to allow the governor to do the needful since he was just coming in newly. You would recall that the governor asked us to suspend the strike then and allow him some time to settle down into office so that he could look into our demands and address them appropriately.
“Unfortunately, after almost three years of granting that request and suspending the strike, nothing has been done. Intact the government has not shown any seriousness in addressing our plight or even engaging the Union in any meaningful negotiations.
“We have written more than eight letters to the government to set up a meeting without any positive response from them. In fact, the situation is even getting worse. Our November salary was paid in second week of January this year and since then we have not received any other pay. How do you expect a lecturer to go and teach without food in his stomach?
“So we have no choice but to embark on this strike indefinitely pending when the government would address our issues”, Jonathan concluded.
Meanwhile, when our correspondent visited the school, students were swing hanging around lecture rooms but there were no lectures go on.
Some of the students who spoke to correspondent said that the situation was very frustrating.
According to Joshua Manasseh, the incessant strikes have delayed the academic calendar and lengthened their stay in the university unnecessarily.
“This is very frustrating. I feel like running mad right now. How can you end up spending more than eight years for a four year program just because lecturers are embarking on strikes everyday and and the government is not ready to do the needful. How do you learn under such conditions?” he quarreled.
In the same vein, Christiana Babayo said that their examination was shifted after they had made preparations and now the strike has come and she had no idea when it will be over or what to even do in the interim. Babayo insisted that these endless strikes were responsible for the poor quality of Nigerian graduates.
“You spend three months studying and preparing for examination and just when you are about to take the examination, a strike action would hit and you have no idea how long it is going to last. It is just too frustrating. You can’t concentrate. You can’t focus.
“We keep blaming students for been unserious but I think the lack of seriousness is on the part of our government that has refused to stabilize the education sector. Its little wonder most graduates are simply not up to expectations”.
When our correspondent contacted the state commissioner of Education Mr Johannes Jigem, he said he was in a meeting and could not respond to the issue.