ASUU strike affecting economy, students’ mental health ― Ondo reps candidate

Worried by the inability of the Federal Government to arrive at a reasonable solution to end the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives candidate in Ondo State, Dr Felix Kehinde, has said the strike is taking a negative toll on the economy and mental wellbeing of the students.

Kehinde who lamented over the insensitivity of the Federal Government to the plight of the students and lecturers, in a statement signed by him, noted that the continued strike has made the students feel associated with boredom.

According to him, such boredom and idleness can lead to mental health challenges which include depression and anxiety, thus taking a toll on the student’s mental health.

The United Kingdom-based Medical Specialist noted that if Nigeria were a country with serious and compassionate leaders, this strike would have ended long ago in the interest of the common man and the future of the nation.

Kehinde said: “No serious nation in the world jokes with its future as Nigeria does. The social impact of the ongoing ASUU strike cannot be understated. A lot of young people who have been home for 6 months without engaging in any productive activity will definitely suffer one form of mental health issue or another.

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“As you are aware that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. There is no denying fact that the young people who are sitting idly at home are more likely to take into drugs, internet fraud, crime and other vices than their colleagues in private universities.

“We must understand these things are well linked. Even when the strike will be over, it is really sad these young people may find it difficult to get back to their normal lives.”

He advised university management to begin to put in place functional guidance and counselling units with a special focus on mental health.

He noted that the campus economy must have been negatively impacted since the university lecturers embarked on strike.

“There are over 80 public universities in Nigeria and some of these universities have more than one campus. Most of these campuses are almost equal in size to some towns with viable economies.

“A thinking government would have thought of how the small-scale businesses would survive if our campuses remain shut.”

Kehinde, however, called on the “Nigerian government and ASUU to, as a matter of urgency and national interest, end the impasse and allow these students who have been roaming the streets to go back to the classrooms.”

He said people must begin to ask questions from their representatives, both local and national, saying that is one of the ways government at the centre and sub-national can feel the pulse of the common man.

The university lecturers in Nigeria on February 14, 2022, embarked on strike to press home its demands for a better welfare package, revamping of the nation’s education sector among others, a situation that has forced many Nigerian students to be at home for over six months.

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Author: Rave

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