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ASUU has gone on strike for over 600 days under Buhari

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has gone on strike for 628 days since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2015, The ICIR reports.

ASUU embarked on the industrial actions as a result of demands and agreements which were not met by the Federal Government.

The union’s strikes under Buhari account for the highest number of days the lecturers have downed tools under any President since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.


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Under Buhari’s watch, ASUU’s last two strikes have exceeded 200 days each, the longest under any President since 1999.

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Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.

The ICIR reports that ASUU’s strikes often result in the suspension of academic activities in Nigerian public universities, with students forced out of schools.

Because most Nigerian parents cannot afford tuition and other expenses in private universities, they have their children in public universities.

Since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, ASUU has suspended work for 57 months (nearly five years).

That is more than the four years many students spend to earn degrees in universities.

While strikes drag, many students grow beyond the 30 years required by the law to participate in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and are disqualified from the programme.

For instance, ASUU has been on strike for 580 days (nearly two years) since 2018, with academic activities stalling and students growing older.

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Former Olusegun Obasanjo’s government had a long face-off with ASUU, just like what is being witnessed under the Buhari administration.

The union was on strike for 519 days during Obasanjo’s government, which ended on May 29, 2007.

Multiple reports showed that ASUU downed tools for five months in 1999, three months in 2001, two weeks in 2002, six months in 2003, two weeks in 2005, and one week in 2006. 

The union was also on strike in 2007, as the late President Umar Yar’Adua inherited the strike that started on March 26 that year.

Yar’Adua took over power on May 29, 2007.

ASUU was on strike for 64 days in 2007, seven days in 2008, and 120 days in 2009 under the late former President.

The union suspended work for a total of 153 days under Yar’Adua.

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan also had a tough time with ASUU.

The association was on strike for 397 days during his six-year reign.

On Thursday, The ICIR reported that the former President narrated how he spent a whole night negotiating with ASUU to bring an end to one of its strikes when he was leading the nation.

ASUU’s first strike under Jonathan began on July 22, 2010, and ended on January 18, 2011, spanning 157 days.

The union downed tools again on December 2011 and called the action off on January 31, 2012.

In 2013, ASUU pronounced its last strike during Jonathan’s era on July 1. The action ended on December 17.

Meanwhile, the union has gone on strike five times under Buhari.

As at the time of filing this report on September 2, ASUU has been on strike for 628 days since Buhari took over power.

In November 2016, the union was on strike for one week.

The association went on another strike on August 14, 2017, and suspended the action on September 18.

Another strike by the union began on November 4, 2018, and ended on February 7, 2019.

In 2020, the union also downed tools. A two-week warning strike which started on March 9, transmuted to a full-blown action that lasted till December 23.

The ongoing strike, which clocked 200 days on Thursday, began on February 14, and all efforts to end it have failed. 

ASUU’s demands

Major reasons for ASUU downing tools have been the implementation of an agreement the Federal Government signed with it in 2009, funding for infrastructure and research in the universities, among other demands, namely: 

  • Deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
  • Payment of outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
  • Release of an agreed sum of money for revitalising public universities (federal and state).
  • Addressing proliferation and governance issues in state universities.
  • Settling promotion arrears.
  • Releasing withheld salaries of academics.
  • Payment of outstanding third-party deductions.
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