Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday continued to protest in their respective institutions as directed by the union’s national body.
The peaceful protests were held in different chapters to show displeasure at the withheld salaries of the union members after their eight-month strike.
Lecturers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, blocked the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, in protest of the half salary they received in October, the backlog of salaries and other poor working conditions.
The protest, which kicked off at the union secretariat, continued down to the university gate by the Enugu-Onitsha highway, where the road was barricaded for some minutes.
Speaking to journalists after the protest, the UNIZIK ASUU Chairman, Stephen Ufoaroh, said, “As I speak to you, the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has not yielded any positive result.
“We are using this protest to ask the masses to appeal to the Federal Government to do the needful now to avert a further crisis in the nation’s universities.”
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Esimone, in his solidarity message, said his heart was bleeding because of the deplorable conditions under which lecturers were working in the country.
In Owerri, Imo State, lecturers at the Federal University of Technology, stopped teaching on Thursday.
While carrying placards with various inscriptions, the lecturers marched on the campus, accusing the FG of destroying the country’s academic system.
Addressing the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Nnenna Oti, the Chairman of ASUU in FUTO, Chinedu Ihejirika, accused the FG of “weaponising hunger to frustrate university lecturers in Nigeria.”
Ihejirika, who urged the FG to implement the 2009 ASUU-FG agreement, vowed that no amount of intimidation would deter ASUU from demanding an improved public education system in Nigeria.
He said, “Our cardinal demands are: funding for the revitalisation of Nigerian public universities (improved infrastructure, conducive teaching/learning environments, student and staff accommodations, equipment for laboratories and libraries, among others); payment of arrears of earned academic Allowances; deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which addresses the peculiarities of academic staff in universities, among others.
“We urge the government to stop forthwith the weaponisation of hunger to whip academics into submission and pay us all our withheld salaries spanning more than seven months. Strike all over the world is a legitimate tool to press home workers’ demands and grievances.”