They made their feelings known when Radio Nigeria visited the University to monitor the effect of the strike action by the lecturers.
When Radio Nigeria arrived in CAS Campus of the University in Abakaliki, few students were seen going about their businesses as lectures were not going on.
The President Students Union Government of the Institution, Comrade Collins Egbe lamented that many lectures did not turn up for class as a result of the strike and appealed to the Federal Government and ASUU to return to negotiation table to avoid disrupting academic calendar.
Another student of the University, Mr. Victor Nsobundu decried the timing of the strike which he said occurred at a time they were preparing for their second semester examination.
Other students responded to the issue including Mr. Chinonyerem Akam blamed that problem on lack of trust but enjoined the government to seek ways of resolving the ASSU issues to save the nation’s University Education from collapsing.
When contacted, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities EBSU Chapter, Dr. Uche Onwe said members of the Union would meet to deliberate on the directives of the national body.
Reacting to the development, the Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Higher Education, Professor Adaeze Nwuzor, said though the strike was not in the interest of the State Government, it was not opposed to the action considering that it was a union matter.
Earlier, ASUU National President, Dr. Biodun Ogunyemi, had in a statement at end of a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union announced the commencement of the nation-wide strike.
Dr. Ogunyemi said during the strike, there would be no teaching, examination and attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of the union’s branches across the country.
He explained that the decision followed the failure of the government to fully implement the 2009 Federal Government of Nigeria -ASUU Agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Some of the key outstanding issues discussed at the meeting were the payment of fractions/ non-payment of salaries; non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA); non-release of operational license of NUPEMCO and the non-implementation of the provisions of the 2014 Pension Reform Act with respect to retired professors and their salaries.
Others include the removal of Universal Staff Schools from funding by government, funds for the revitalization of Public Universities (Implementation of Needs Assessment Report), as well as the poor funding of existing State Universities and proliferation of universities by their visitors among other issues.
The Union had embarked on a six-month strike between July and December 2013, but the strike was suspended when the government signed a MoU with the Lecturers following a meeting with former President Goodluck Jonathan.
ASUU, however, claimed that of all the items contained in the MoU, only the N200b out of a total of N1.3tr of the Public Universities Revitalization (Needs Assessment) fund was released.
The union had also embarked on a warning strike in November 2016 to press for the implementation of the 2013 MoU.
However, the government did not implement the understanding reached with the union because of an intervention by the Senate.
ASUU said it had also met with the 2009 Agreement implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) and had written many letters and press releases on the outstanding issues to no avail.
AMECHI ODO AND NAN