All activities were grounded at the state-owned tertiary institutions in Lagos, yesterday, after the state government failed to meet the workers’ demands.
Both academic and non-academic staff of the four state-owned tertiary institutions joined in the indefinite strike over the non-implementation of agreements reached with the government.
Workers make good their threat
The workers’ unions had announced after an emergency meeting last week to go on an indefinite strike action if the agreement was not implemented by month-end.
The affected institutions are Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), and the Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), and the strike is over the non-implementation of improved allowance, condition of service, and facilities in schools.
“It started by 7 am in the morning; all activities are paralysed and the gates are locked,” said chairperson, AOCOED chapter of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), in a phone conversation. “The government has failed to address the issue and we are fully on strike now.”
The strike has gone ahead in spite of a meeting between the leadership of the various workers’ unions, under the aegis of Joint Action Committee of Tertiary Institutions in Lagos State, and the governor, Babatunde Fashola, last week at his residence in Marina, Lagos.
“The governor said no money for now to pay the salary and that the government is fixing roads and water, however, we have started the strike fully. Even if it takes one year or two years for the government to answer us, that’s when we will resume,” said Funmi Sessi, the coordinator of the Joint Action Committee and the chairperson, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), LASU chapter.
Speaking on the issue, the chairperson, LASU chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kabir Akinyemi, also said “there is no hope that the strike will be called off until the government honours the agreement.”
Students fear the worst
Gafar Adedayo, president, LASPOTECH Students Union Government (SUG), blamed the state government for its failure to avert the strike.
“What the workers are demanding for is genuine, I think the government should answer them,” he said. “Education is important and it should be taken seriously by the government; we, students are not ready to stay at home doing nothing.”
Mr Adedayo added that the strike could be detrimental for the students because they will be “likely instruments” of corrupt politicians during the forthcoming general elections.
A student of LASU, Keye Ewebiyi, blamed the state government for directing its resources on public infrastructure, at the expense of education.
“We can see the state government is beautifying Lagos, but no nation can develop beyond its education sector,” he said. “We students are enjoying half-baked education; after spending about six months at home last year due to strike, we can’t afford to have another unstable academic calendar and having to spend six to seven years for a four-year course.