ASUU Strike: NUGA Gets Go-Ahead For UNILAG 2022 — LOC

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of Nigeria University Games (NUGA) has reached an agreement with the striking Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) to hold the 2022 NUGA as scheduled.

The Executive Secretary of NUGA 2022, Dr Joseph Awoyinfa, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.

NAN reports that University of Lagos ((Unilag) will be hosting the 2022 NUGA between March 16 and March 26.

About 10,000 student athletes and officials from 136 universities across the country are expected to participate in 17 different games during the event.

Awoyinfa assured that the strike would not take any shine off the games, adding that the academic union had given the go-ahead to use the three weeks for the games.

“ASUU is on warning strike which is for a 4-week period and at the expiration of the warning strike, which will expire on March 14, ASUU has graciously said that NUGA is an extra-curricular activities and not academic, so we can use the grace period.

“If ASUU wants to go all out, they might want to shut the universities; but this NUGA has suffered many postponements since Unilag first got the hosting right in 2018.

“We are supposed to host NUGA in 2019, but then, there was an ASUU strike that lasted for nine months, then,  year 2020 was almost non-existent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 2021 was a recovery year.

“The National Council of NUGA then pushed the games to 2022, and here we are again, facing another ASUU strike, so we pleaded with ASUU that we don’t want to postpone NUGA again,” he said.

Awoyinfa said that the striking university lecturers agreed with the organisers to host the event within the free windows of negotiation with the government.

He also said that the strike could also be considered as a blessing in disguise as students of the institutions would eventually have to go on break for the hostels to be free to accommodate the delegations from other universities.

“We got a window of opportunity that if we can finish NUGA before the next strike, we are good to go, so after the expiration of the 4-week warning strike, which ends at March 14, we will start NUGA on March 16.

“We will end the game by March 26, while the departure is March 27, before any consideration of the next strike by ASUU which may be a total shutdown of the universities in Nigeria which we did not pray for.

“The thought of concern whether the strike will affect NUGA is not totally a worry, but a blessing in disguise because if the students have been in session, we will still need to shut down the schools and hostels to accommodate the athletes.

“We are expecting over 10,000 contingents all over Nigeria and combining that with existing student populace is not realistic, so the students will have to vacate their halls latest on Sunday and return after NUGA,” he said.

Awoyinfa said that other logistics such as transportation, security infrastructure, health and safety had been assured for a hitch-free games.

“All other logistics have been put in place and we are working round the clock to ensure a memorable event. I have been on tour of the facilities and they are in good shape.

“The officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) have been on ground in the past week to ensure health guidelines and COVID-19 protocols,” he said.

Among the games to feature are: football, badminton, hockey, cricket, chess, judo, swimming, karate, athletics, squash and boxing.

NAN reports that the the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) won the 25th edition hosted by University of Agriculture, Makurdi in 2017, with 70 gold medals.

The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria followed with 11 gold, while Benson Idahosa University, Benin, came third with 10 gold medals.


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