No School, No Sales: How prolonged ASUU strike crippled UNIABUJA’s business community
Story from Haruna A. YUSUF, Abuja
Business operators at the University of Abuja in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have lamented over the adverse effect the continued nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) is having on their businesses.
The business owners who spoke with Neptune Prime’s correspondence at the main campus of the university described the ongoing strike as worrisome.
According to them, economic and social activities in and outside the school premises have been paralysed as most shops and business centres are either locked or witnessing low sales.
Neptune Prime can report that ASUU has been on strike since February 14th, 2022 and in a bid to find a lasting solution to the lingering crisis between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Labour Union, a meeting was held recently which ended in deadlock.
The President of the Union, Emmanuel Osodeke, who was part of the panellist during a Twitter space organised by Premium Times, listed the Union’s major demands including the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS), the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, a halt to the proliferation of universities and the release of revitalisation fund amongst others. He also noted that until all these demands were met, the lecturers were not going back to the classroom.
In an interview, some of the traders shared their experiences on how the strike has impacted negatively their businesses.
Muhammad Bello, a grocery kiosk owner adjacent to the University of Abuja main campus, said the strike has affected his daily sales and he wishes for the government to intervene.
“When the school was in session, I used to make N20, 000 daily but as it is now, I hardly make N5,000, however, my prayer is for the government to resolve the labour crisis,” Bello said.
Similarly, Patience Chukwu, who runs a business centre also complained of low patronage as a result of the ASUU strike and appealed to the government to resolve the lingering issue.
In addition, Chukwu said, “I used to make N7, 000 and above every day but with the strike, I can’t even make my transport fare which is N500, so I call on the government to end the strike.”
In the case of Seyi Obidakun, a restaurant owner said she used to make sales of about N25,000 and above but now she barely makes N5,000 daily. She also asserted that many restaurant owners have closed down but in her case, she is enjoying God’s grace, if not she would have closed down too.
She, however, called on the government to quickly resolve the ASUU crisis to avert a more devastating experience.
Commercial motorcyclists were also not left out as Sanusi Saidu, who shuttles between the SDP area and the main campus and makes N10,000 daily, but with the ongoing strike, he barely makes N3,000 daily.