A strike by university professors in Nigeria, which shut down state universities for eight months, was called off on Friday after a court ruling and the intervention of leading figures, including the speaker of parliament.
Union leaders say their demands over salary, welfare and dilapidated facilities have not been addressed, but students are happy to return to classrooms.
Ahmed Dingoli Muhammed is a student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Kaduna State, and said: “Honestly, I am very happy that the Federal Government and ASUU (University Academic Staff Union) have been able to negotiate the terms to cancel the strike”. .
“It’s very good for us, at least we can resume our classes, we can start our learning process, we can start our studies properly and everything.”
James Kure, a student at Nasarawa State University, added: “My rent has expired and I stayed at the school for 3 months. So for the remaining 9 months, my rent went by without me being at the school. And then we’re behind, they’re talking about competing with private schools and private sectors, we should have been rounding our 200 level from the first semester right now.”
The latest strike was ASUU’s second longest and union members say their demands have yet to be met.
Professor Anthony Igyuve is a professor at Nasarawa State University and said: “It is the government’s responsibility to honor the agreement they voluntarily signed with ASUU and perhaps other university unions as well.
“If the government is faithful to such an agreement there would be no strike incidents.
“So I think it is better to tell the government and its agencies that they must be faithful to the agreement that they have reached with ASUU, so that the incessant strikes, as you have said, cease in our university system.”
Nigeria faces many challenges, including growing insecurity and falling oil revenues, as well as high debt payments, a weak national currency, inflation, and high unemployment.
Those issues will be in the spotlight when Nigerians go to the polls in February to elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, who will step down after two terms.