At least the world can agree on one thing this time: ‘2020 came with a big blow that has thrown everyone off their feet‘. With the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, ravaging economies and changing work and lifestyles, 2020 is definitely not the kind of year anyone expected. But, while we are recovering from the heavy punch, we will need to understand intentions – this time ASUU.
For Nigeria, we have slowly regressed, returned to the ‘old normal’ and are hardly putting measures in place to ensure the coronavirus disease does not keep spreading. Fortunately, worship centres have opened with stiff guidelines, but markets places continue activities like COVID-19 is a myth. Schools resumed with students with little or no information on how to stay safe. What you will see is people without face masks, no sanitisers anywhere, and so on.
In June, the Federal Ministry of Education, through the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, shared guidelines to ensure the safety of students. In the document titled “Guidelines for schools and learning facilities reopening after COVID-19 pandemic closure” and submitted to the National Assembly, schools were charged to ensure that they create temporary isolation spaces and fully-equipped clinics before reopening. And, in August, the National Universities Commission (NUC) directed Universities and stakeholders to prepare to open their gates for students.
Reacting to this, Nigerians are asking on Twitter if the universities are ready to go back into work – a directive the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strongly antagonise.
COVID-19: It’s suicidal to reopen universities now, says ASUU https://t.co/uQKqeWXaA5
— Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) August 31, 2020
In the report, the coordinator of the Lagos chapter of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, said it would be suicidal if universities are to reopen, stating further that the government have not played their part in the guidelines they shared. Sowande added that the FG still owed lecturers’ salaries even after they have signed up to the unified pay system – Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Nigerian students are reacting to this, arguing that ASUU are not getting this right.
I think ASUU are tired of lecturing… #schoolsreopening is suicidal? What the heck is that supposed to mean? After all the mingles in Markets and other crowded places 🤔🤔.
These sets of people are a bad OMEN to the entire world.
— Rulebreaker👤 (@ruLEbr3akerr) September 1, 2020
They should scrape this Asuu shit ,,,Nigiera gives power to unnecessary sector what is their real work I mean Asuu except going on strike everytime !!!!!!How man federal universities do we really have in this country that the ministry of Education can manage them NO MORE ASUU!!!
— AAFRICA (@AFRICA20149) September 1, 2020
Is it the money i gave /dash my landlord since January around campus that is suicidal OR the fact that I would have gotten that A4 paper in few months and see how to move on n earn a more better living OR U think we don’t know how to stay safe? MAKE I NO VEX FOR UNA O #ASUU
— Peace Ekpo (@PeaceEkpo2) September 1, 2020
ASUU said it's suicidal to open schools when market, religious centres,even airport are open.But if federal government should clear the money it will be safe to reopen schools
— Yinusa Yusuf (@YinusaYusuf8) September 1, 2020
With all the doctors, associate profs and profs in ASUU that call themselves body of intellectuals, they are advising the government not to re-open school. They cannot think of a way to continue school session. They are not the loser anyway. https://t.co/TQj4YJKt8V
— Omókéhìndé💥 (@AliuKehinde_) September 1, 2020
With all the selfish-themed strikes and threats, it will take more than press releases for students to understand that ASUU is only thinking of safety and asking the government to play its part.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya