Nigerian universities on strike

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afrol News, 20 March - Nigerian universities experience a wave of strikes as lecturers from one university after another demonstrate their solidarity with 60 colleagues, which were sacked from the University of Ilorin last year. The one-week strike declared by trade unions is gaining momentum.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is demanding the reinstatement of their Ilorin colleagues and on Monday called all Nigerian university lecturers to show solidarity by boycotting lectures for one week. The strike has now spread to the Lagos State University, the University of Agriculture and the universities of Jos, Calabar and Abuja. Other universities are said to join the strike later this week.

ASUU President Oladipo Fashina has stated that this may only be the beginning, if trade union demands are not met. "It can get worse; we don't care about the consequences," Fashina told the press.

He claims that 44 of the 60 Ilorin lecturers had been sacked only because they had participated in the last ASUU strike. According to the news agency IPS, ASUU had gone on strike 12 times only last year, "despite the increases in their salaries and allowances after their numerous demands to the government in 1999."

One other reason for the strike to gain momentum is the widespread frustration among Nigerian university staff in general. At the University of Calabar, staff not belonging to the ASUU was also striking, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. It was learnt that the main reason for the joint strike was the delay by the authorities of the institution to pay February salaries to its staff - a common situation at Nigerian universities.

Students are reported to already have taken the consequences of the widening strike. In southern, Christian, universities, Eastern leave is coming up, and most students have left for home earlier.

Sources: Press reports and afrol archives

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