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Nigerian Universities Still Empty Despite Government Order To Resume Classes

By Linus Okechuwku
Reporter
LAFIA, Nasarawa, Nigeria – Academic
activities at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka are still moving slowly, even after the Nigerian government ordered all federal
universities to reopen today.
The government aims to put an end to
a five-month strike by professors and other instructors at about 75 public
colleges and universities throughout Nigeria.
In a press release on its website,
the registrar in Nsukka announced Monday that the school has
officially resumed and called on students who have outstanding
examinations for the 2012/2013 academic session to return immediately.
But the campus remains empty,
students said.
Uzoma Uzodimma, a second-year
student of mass communications in the school, said in a phone interview from
the school that students are yet to report back.
Photo courtesy of Uzoma Uzodimma

 

Uzoma Uzodimma, a mass

 

communications student 

at

 

the 

 

University of Nigeria

 

 in

 

 

Nsukka, 

 

 

said his campus

 

 is

 

 

empty.

 

 

 

“The hostels were totally empty,”
Uzodimma said, referring to student residence halls. “I saw people moving
around, so I couldn’t tell whether they were lecturers or just ordinary people.
But some departmental general offices were open.”
Uzodimma said that lecture halls in
his department are open, but no classes are being held.
Another University of Nigeria student
at the Nsukka campus, 
Ijeoma Anulika, said the typically busy gates at the school are no longer
teeming with students, though people still move in and out of the school.
She said things are moving quite well,
but not as they did when students were around.

Photo courtesy of Ijeoma Anulika

 

Ijeoma Anulika, a student at the

 

University of Nigeria in Nsukka,
said the usually busy campus
is quiet.

 

 

Anichebe Andrew, a second-year English
major on the Nsukka campus, said the place was dull and sedate everywhere.
“I went to school yesterday, I
saw nobody,” Andrew said in a phone interview from campus Tuesday. “I only
managed to see non-academic staff, not lecturers actually.  And
there were no students there; everything was quiet empty – lecture halls were
open, but no academic activities were going on.”
On November 28, Nigeria’s supervising
Minister of Education and Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike
announced that any academic staff member who fails to return to work
on December 4 risks being sacked.
But few federal universities have
complied with the government’s directive.
Some students are skeptical about
returning to school, worrying that nothing serious will happen in the
classrooms until the union and the government reach an agreement.
And the deadline may have been
extended.
According to a report broadcast
Tuesday by Africa Independent Television, a Nigerian satellite station, the
government has since shifted the deadline to December 9, apparently to allow
the union representing the professors time to bury a key union leader who died
in an accident last month.