The students of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai, Niger State, have decried the lingering strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) amid a hike in the varsity’s tuition fees.
The varsity’s branch of ASUU joined the nationwide industrial action on February 14, 2022, over claims of failed promises by the state government. According to the union, there are backlogs of allowances, failure to revitalise the decaying institution, among others.
For many students in IBBU, it was a double hit. The school hiked its tuition fees doubly from what it used to be and so, some students could not pay.
Saba Silas, a 200-level student of Mass Communication, was not disturbed any longer talking about the protracted strike.
“I have no worries over this strike again,” said Silas. “I have been waiting to hear a favorable outcome but to no avail and am not expecting the strike to come to an end soon. Many varsities hiked their tuition fees and also embarked on strike so our institution joining the strike did not come as a shock.”
“The prolonged strike came at the wrong time,” said Muhammed Ahmed, a final-year student of History and International Studies. Ahmed predicts more disaster if the present government fails to resolve the face-off with ASUU. “The succeeding government might create a new negotiating team.”
Speaking about the impacts of the strike, Ahmed said it has forced some students into restiveness and prostitution.
“I never thought IBBU would join the strike despite the hike in tuition fees,” Ahmed said, arguing the privilege of the hiked fees should be enjoyed by students.
While recalling how some students dropped out of school because they could not afford the fees, Ahmed pleaded with the striking lecturers to find common ground with the government.
In close, Ahmed urged state-owned institutions to ignore joining federal universities in the strike. “The state government and school management should focus on developing their institutions,” he said.
For Salihu Nma Aliyu, a 300-level student of Business Administration, the strike had done more bad than good. He hopes the face-off soon comes to pass.
A final year student of mass communication, Emmanuel Dachi, shared similar thoughts with Aliyu.
“I should have graduated by now,” Dachi groaned, adding no one could tell when the concerned parties would resolve their differences. He, however, expressed displeasure over the hiked fees, saying it should have prevented IBBU from joining the strike.
When contacted, Professor Dangana Kolo, IBBU-ASUU Chairman explained that the institution’s chapter is waiting for FG to sign an agreement over their demand.
“We are waiting for the federal government to agree on documentation and sign. We expected them to sign last week but didn’t hear from them.”
Kolo declined incisive comments about the hiked tuition fees. “The hike only concerns students,” he said, adding the union’s demands have no meeting point with the tuition fees.