By Vincent Ujumadu
STUDENTS of Anambra State University whose teachers have been on strike since July 22, 2010, have sent a Save Our Soul, SOS, to well- meaning Nigerians to plead with the lecturers to return to work to save their careers.
President of the Students Union Government, SUG, Mr. Paul Okafor, said in Awka that investigations had shown that most of his colleagues have become downcast, while some are getting involved in social vices due to idleness, adding that many parents were beginning to see their wards as a great burden as if they were the cause of the problem.
According to him, students are not concerned about the rumoured increase in school fees. He added that what they wanted was to resume their academic work and complete the session so as not to lose one academic calendar.
“The students did not say they won’t go back to school because of the speculated increase in school fees because the issue has not come up,” he said.
At a joint press conference in Awka last week, the institution’s alumni association and students’ union government had urged the lecturers to accept the offer and return to their jobs.
President of the alumni association of the institution, Mr. Nnamdi Nweke, believed that government and elders of the state had made enough concessions, arguing that the issue was becoming a moral burden to those concerned.
“It is our strong belief that as the fortunes of the state university increase, the state government will also increase subvention to the university. This means that salary and other conditions of service will continue to receive adequate attention,” Nweke said.
The state government had, during the course of negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, initially increased its monthly subvention to the school from N50million to N81million and then further increased it to N90million, while the school offered to contribute N70million to bring the total to N160million per month.
But the ASUU still insisted on the full implementation of its agreement with the federal government which the South East governors said they were not part of. The group therefore urged the lecturers to accept the offer to end the misery suffered by students and their parents
While expecting that the strike would come to an end they hoped there would be no need for any unnecessary confrontation by the students against the institution’s authorities as such would benefit no one, especially given the fact that ANSU was the youngest of all the five South East state -owned universities.