The fate of over 2000 graduating students at the University of Lagos is now hanging in the balance, because Unilag’s three non-academic staff unions are currently on a simultaneous strike to protest the government’s refusal to adhere to agreements decided on in 2016. According to the unions, they’ve warned the management of the University from proceeding with the convocation until their needs have been met or risk having the convocation ceremony disrupted.
They promise to disrupt the convocation activities through non suppliance of necessary social amenities such as water and electricity. Once again, the students are at the receiving end as they represents the proverbial grass that suffers when two elephant fights.
This is not to say however that the non-academic staff at the University of Lagos and all other tertiary institutions in Nigeria aren’t well within their rights to embark on a strike. They have been failed in spite of promises by successive administrations.
The federal government have perfected a routine process of avoiding these issues which later spring up at a time they never envisaged and students almost always get punished for the government’s incompetence. Nearly all Nigerian students in the public university system has suffered some form of academic setback because of the continuing feuds between the government and university administration. All successive political administrations in Nigeria have an unbroken record of strikes by university unions.
More than enough committees have submitted reports over the years, the reports have not been implemented. The Unilag graduating students have had their own share of these strikes as its impossible to complete a four years course in nigeria without experiencing the annual ASUU strike.
This status quo of abandonment has been emulated by the change administration of President Muhammadu Buhari who has been silent on its plans for education since the year 2015, they suddenly woke up from their slumber in early 2018 as the Minister of Education promised to declare a state of emergency in the sector by April 2018 which has shown the low level of commitment this administration have for education.
The Ministry of education and other relevant bodies must step in and resolve this impending disaster, for the sake of the students.