Nigeria's varsity teachers begin 'indefinite strike'

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Teachers across Nigeria's universities have embarked on a nationwide strike action to demand adequate funding for tertiary education and reject a government proposal to increase fee.

“We have since declared a nationwide action and it will be total and indefinite until government fulfils our demands,” Biodun Ogunyemi, head of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), told Anadolu Agency.

Ogunyemi said the action started on Monday, coming just a day before the country's two major labor unions are billed to begin a sit-at-home to force authorities to approve a new minimum wage.

“Our demands include adequate funding for tertiary education and research across our universities. This has been our demand over the years and government has refused to implement agreements to this end,” he said.

“We are also opposed to the proposed increment of fees across our universities because this will worsen the situation for the country. We are also against the setting up of a so-called education bank to guarantee loans to students. This has never worked and it will not work because there are no jobs for such students to repay the loan after their education.”

The action has grounded academic activities across universities in the country, with lecturers not turning up for lectures in compliance with the directives of their umbrella body.

Lecturers across most of Nigerian universities belong to ASUU, a body whose leadership has a history of being anti-capitalist and any policies believed to be anti-poor. In the 1980s through 1990s, the ASUU was part of the coalition that repeatedly challenged military rule and government's adoption of the International Monetary Fund policies.