A 400L Computer Science student of the Federal University Lokoja, (FUL), Thomas Kehinde, has decried the prolonged strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), insisting that both the academic body and the government are playing games with the lives and future of Nigerian youths.
Kehinde, in an interview with Vanguard on Wednesday, said the ASUU strike had turned him into an emergency newspaper vendor to survive with the harsh economy of the country.
Kehinde, a native of Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State, said that his parents fed from hand to mouth to see him through school, in a bid to pursue his academic dream of becoming a great computer scientist.
He said the strike had dashed his hope of graduating in time.
He said, “My hopes of graduating from the university from a four years course this year has been dashed by the tussle between the Federal Government and the Academic Union.
“I decided to venture into the newspaper business in order not to sit at home or engage in any social vices, as the strike has impacted my future negatively.”
Kehinde described the over nine-month ASUU strike as unfair, appealing to the aggrieved bodies to sheath their swords and allow students to return to the classroom.
He added, “The last nine months have been a living hell for me. I thought I would be saying goodbye to the university by the end of 2020, but that hope has been shattered. Can you imagine, ASUU and the government are treating Nigerian students as if we are not part of this country.
“You would recall that most of the people that participated in the #EndSARS protests are students. This is because they were idle and are tired of staying at home.
“There are some students I firmly believe have been engaging themselves in some social vices such as armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, money laundering, and many more. This is because they are idle.
“There is a well-known saying that an idle man is a devils workshop. Am not trying to give them credit for perpetuating such an evil act, but it is essential to state here that we are tired of staying at home.
“As for me, I won’t blame our leaders for treating us like trash. How many of the big men and the top government officials have children in a public Nigeria university? Please mention it for me, because I don’t know anyone.
“It is either they move all their kids to an expensive private university or move them to study abroad. While we that our parents are extremely poor and could not afford two square meals a day would be left to suffer for no reason.
“Our leaders should always put this at the back of their minds that there is a day of reckoning. A day that every one of us will give an account of our stewardship to our creator. I want to borrow the words of late Dele Giwa, who said and I quote,’ Any evil done by man will never go unpunished, if not now, certainly later, if not later, certainly by God.’
“As for me, I will continue with my newspaper business, with the hope that the Federal Government and ASUU will come to a truce. I don’t want to drag the name of my family into the mud, so I decided to do this business.
“Although some of my friends have been mocking me, including some of my course mates. But I still don’t care. It is better to do a legitimate business of selling newspapers than engaging in armed robbery or kidnapping; to satisfy my immediate needs.