News / Africa

No End in Sight in Nigeria University Teachers Strike

Most of Nigeria's universities have been closed since the beginning of July when teachers went on strike, demanding higher salaries, more resources and policy reform. (Hilary Uguru/VOA)Most of Nigeria's universities have been closed since the beginning of July when teachers went on strike, demanding higher salaries, more resources and policy reform. (Hilary Uguru/VOA)
x
Most of Nigeria's universities have been closed since the beginning of July when teachers went on strike, demanding higher salaries, more resources and policy reform. (Hilary Uguru/VOA)
Most of Nigeria's universities have been closed since the beginning of July when teachers went on strike, demanding higher salaries, more resources and policy reform. (Hilary Uguru/VOA)
Heather Murdock
Negotiations between Nigerian college professors and the government this week failed to end a strike that has kept most of the country's universities closed for nearly three weeks. 

Sonia Ashionye is in her final year at Delta State University and she’s supposed to be in school.

“Right now everything is dormant. We can’t continue with our projects. We can’t go to classes,” she said fixing a client's hair at a salon in the southern Nigerian city of Warri.

The strike, she said, was going to delay her graduation and exams were already being postponed.

“I am actually wanting them to call off the strike but the government in their own should do things, as in try to meet up with the demands of these lecturers so we can try to go back to school,” said Ashionye.

'The only way'

University lecturers, however, said striking was the only way to get the government to take their demands seriously.

Benjamin Agah is a political science lecturer at the Delta State University. He said, in 2009, the government agreed to increase salaries, build laboratories, and transfer government lands to universities by 2011. So far, he said, nothing has happened. 

“The best option to any crisis is dialogue. But most time the federal government is not willing to actually dialogue with us. And even if they dialogue with us, the federal government will not implement it,” said Agah. 

Some locals, however, said that the strike would do more damage than good to the education system in Nigeria.

Gabriel Osekene is a security consultant in Warri. He said the education system was already on the verge of collapse, and shutting down classes was only making things worse. 

“They should call off their strike and turn back to school. And then go back again to your own round table. Meet with government. Meet with government and discuss it in your round table - a way forward.  And see how the actions will be conducted because children are suffering,” said Osekene.   

Funding shortages, bad governance

Others said the education system in Nigeria was desperately neglected by the government, falling short of the United Nations' recommendation to allocate about a quarter of national budgets to schools.

The Nigerian government pledged to work towards meeting this goal in 2009 but since 2011, when tangible results were supposed to have appeared, university and technical school teachers have been on strike at least three times.

Transparency International said Nigeria was one of the most corrupt countries in the world and, like many Nigerians, lawyer Gandhi Onyiye said the schools' problems came from wasteful governance and corruption.

“We know how many members of the national assembly we have. We know how many political aides and associates are attached to Mr. President. Cut down all these wastages. Prune down the cost of governance. And let's make progress. Put the resources in education,” said the lawyer.

Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa with more than 160 million people.  And although it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, most people live in abject poverty. 

The country also faces an insurgency in the north and periodic attacks on oil and government interests in the south. Analysts say poor education systems left many of Nigeria’s young people practically unemployable and therefore more inclined to join militant groups, just to survive.  

Teachers said the strike would go on indefinitely until their demands are met and officials said negotiations would continue. But some lecturers are wary that negotiations alone can be successful because past strikes have ended with promises, and those promises were never fulfilled.

Hilary Urugu contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.

You May Like

Beloved Lion Killing Sparks Virtual, Real Life Outrage

Twitter, as usual, was epicenter for anger directed at Palmer, with some questioning his manhood, calling for him to be released into the wild More

Video Booming London Property Market a Haven for Dirty Money

Billions of dollars from proceeds of crime, especially from Russia, being laundered through London property market, according to anti-corruption activists More

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

One former Scout leader thinks organization will move past political, social debate, get back to its primary focus of turning boys into good citizens More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs