Financial pains, anguish and palpable hardship have become the lots of motorists, traders and other business entrepreneurs in Nsukka, Enugu state following the persisting strike of Academic Staff Union of Universities.
Nsukka is the host town of the first Nigerian indigenous university, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN and as ASUU strike continues to bite harder as economic activities have literally collapsed.
A shuttle driver, a UNN popular commercial mini-bus, Mr. Kenneth Ikedi told WITHIN NIGERIA that he has seen hell since ASUU declared their indefinite strike.
“When students were around, I made ten to twelve thousand naira daily on the average. But today, I can’t boast of one thousand, five hundred naira daily. This is because there is no students to carry and you know our mini-bus is mainly for inside campus. The situation is becoming unbearable. I can hardly feed my family today. University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN is like an oil well to this town. Without the university, no meaningful economic activities will take place here.”
Appealing to ASUU to call off the strike, Mr. Ikedi stated that “whatever is the problem between the Federal government and ASUU, they should resolve it as soon as possible so that ordinary Nigerians will not die of hunger.”
At Onuiyi, a close community in the university, many shop keepers were seen sleeping and lame ting poor patronage. One of them who gave her name Jane Otti told our reporter that it has not been easy for her since the ASUU went on their strike.
“It has been very tough for us here in Onuiyi since the ASUU started. This is because our business here is purely based on the patronage of UNN students. As I am talking to you now, I can no longer take care of my basic needs. I can hardly make N3000 here daily.”
Mrs Otti who is provision shop keeper at Onuiyi junction told WITHIN NIGERIA that “every morning, we come out here, literally to sleep and while away our time. It is very painful and pathetic. My rent will expire on August 2022 and as I speak with you, I don’t know where my next payment will be coming from. I appeal to ASUU and Federal government to resolve whatever their problem is so that these students will come back to the campus.”
At Obukpa layout, another host village of the university, a landlord, Chief Raymond Ugwuoke who spoke to our reporter stated that he has lost close to N4m to the ASUU strike.
According to Chief Ugwuoke, ” I have over fifty rooms solely occupied by the university students here. Each of them pays N80,000 annually. Their rent expired has expired since five months now and they are no where to be found due to the ASUU strike. ”
Lamenting his ordeal, Ugwuoke explained that “the worst thing is that I cannot even give these rooms to another people because these students’ property are still in those rooms. We are in complete dilemma here. We have not had it so bad for over two decades now. After the other nine months strike, we thought that the issue has been resolved only to face this ugly situation now.”
At Ogige Main Market, Nsukka the effects of ASUU is visibly telling on all the traders as many of them have continued to lament poor turn over since ASUU strike.
One of the traders, Mr. Marcel Ugwu explained that his business is on the verge of collapse owing to lack of patronage by his customers, many of whom are students and University lecturers.
“I deal on cooking utensils and 90% of my customers are the university lecturers and students. As you can see, I have been sleeping since morning because the ASUU strike has wiped away my customers. As I speak with you now, I can no longer feed my family. My wife who is a secondary school teacher now takes care of my family.”
Recall that Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU ,went on strike since February 14, 2022 and all efforts to resolve their issue with the Federal government has ended in deadlock.
At present, some lecture halls at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN have been taken over by reptiles just as many have equally been blown off by wind.