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Nigerian Students Relieved Strike Is Over

By Linus Okechukwu
Reporter
NSUKKA, Enugu, Nigeria – Nigerian college students are happy and
relieved to be back in class after striking professors kept the nation’s public
universities closed for more than five months.
“Actually I lack words to express how excited I am,” said Emmanuel
Onovo, 21, a psychology student at the Enugu State University of Technology in
Agbani. He said his fervent prayer has been to return to class again.

 

For Victor Ejechi, 21, a student of library and information
science at the University of Benin in Ugbowo, the suspension of the strike is “good
news.”
The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, which
represents professors and lecturers shut down about 75 Nigerian colleges and
universities.
Linus Okechukwu / youthjournalism.org

Student Ebube Obiagbaoso,

 

at the University of Nigeria.

 

Many students rejoiced after union and government officials signed
an agreement last week to settle the strike, which started July 1.
“I’m very, very happy,” said Godwin Osagiede a student of mass communication
at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka.
Ebube Obiagbaoso, 20, a chemistry student at the University of
Nigeria in Nsukka, said he felt very happy when he learned the strike was
suspended.
“I could get to see my friends again,” Obiagbaoso said.
Linus Okechukwu / youthjournalism.org

 

Godwin Osagiede, a student at the


University of Nigeria in Nsukka, on 
campus.

 

But as the wave of jubilation among students continues unabated,
some students are begging the federal government and ASUU to ensure that future
strikes are averted. They said they fear future strikes because they hurt
students.
Charles Ihejirika, an 18-year-old communications student at the University
of Nigeria in Nsukka, said strikes cause classes to be rushed, “thereby giving students
little time to prepare” for their finals.
Ihejirika wasn’t as excited as some – he was just glad that he
could finally return to class.
“Strikes happen because both parties couldn’t reach a consensus,”
Ihejirika said. “They must remember that students are at the receiving end of every
strike.”

Linus Okechukwu / youthjournalism.org

 

Communications student Charles


Ihejirika, on campus at the University
of Nigeria in Nsukka.

 

 

Osagiede Godwin, 27, said strikes “disrupt academic calendars”
and called on the union and government to try as much as possible to avert strikes
in the future.
Godwin also called on all vice-chancellors and the senates of
public universities to structure the affected academic calendars in a way that
will enable finalists whose graduation was foiled by the strike to graduate
immediately.
Esther Olunka, 21, a student of food science and technology at
the Kogi State University in Anyigba, said the union should try to use the
money given to it by the government “for the right purpose.”
She also appealed to the federal government to make education
one of its priorities, as this will lead to quality education in the country.
Godwin said that the government should try to maintain steady communication
with ASUU in order to discuss the problems plaguing universities and offer solutions.
He said he thinks that would lead to a strike-free university education in
Nigeria.
At the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, a handful of students
are on campus this week just to take outstanding exams for the 2012-2013 academic
year.

 

While the vast majority of students are yet to return to the
Nsukka campus, academic life is expected to gain momentum in January after the
Christmas holiday.

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