TRADERS and commercial vehicle operators in Ile-Ife have lamented the absence of students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, on campus, as a result of the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The absence of the students, according to the traders and commercial vehicle operators, was having adverse effects on their businesses, saying that they no longer make sales.
OSUN DEFENDER reporter who visited the university environment observed that traders, food vendors, commercial vehicle operators were witnessing low patronage as against the influx of customers, who were mainly students, anytime the university was on.
Speaking with the medium, Mr. Idris Olaoye, a commercial bus driver on campus, expressed his displeasure over the ongoing strike action, lamenting that it has crippled his business.
Olaoye said the absence of students of the university on campus had made it difficult to get passengers as commercial drivers are jostling for the few students who are yet to leave the campus.
He said: “It is very unfortunate that we find ourselves in a situation like this in this country. The absence of the students on campus doesn’t only affect we the drivers alone, it affects everybody because we all know how things used to be when our students were around.
“As a driver on this campus, I know how much I used to take home when the students were around. I have been at the campus gate since 9am and this is almost 11:00am, it is not even my turn yet. The drivers I met here have not seen anyone to carry”.
A food vendor at the OAU Central Market who identified herself as Iya Ila Sariyu told OSUN DEFENDER that the effect of the strike was telling on her business as she has been recording low patronage.
According to her, students are her major customers and with their absence on campus, she had to reduce the quantity of food being prepared.
She said: “The absence of the students on campus is really affecting my business. As you can see, there is no one in here when you came in. This place is empty, which is not supposed to be. This place is usually filled with students who always come to buy food but because of the strike, there is no one here”.
The woman appealed to the Federal Government and ASUU leaders to find a lasting solution to the ongoing strike action, saying it does not good for the education and economy of the country.
Mr. Sunday Samuel, an Okada rider, said he had to leave the campus environment for other communities in Ile- Ife in order to make ends means.
Samuel said the industrial action has drastically reduced his daily income, calling on the government to do whatever it takes to end the strike.
He said: “As old as I am, when the students were on campus, I go home with at least N3000, but with the strike on, I find it difficult to go home with just N1000.
“I had to leave the campus environment to other communities in other to get something to take home for my family. It has not been easy at all. Government needs to pity those of us who are feeding on this innocent children”.
A Point of Sales operator, who simply identified himself as Alaba, disclosed that the strike action was causing more damage than good to POS operators within the OAU environment.
Alaba added that the absence of students on campus has made life harder as he only relied on the residents most of whom prefer to go to the bank to carry out their transactions.
“Life have been very difficult since ASUU commenced strike. Initially, it was not bad because students were still around, but things have turned around since last two weeks when the school management ordered students to vacate the school premises.
“I hardly get customers since then. The people we rely on now are the residents and these people prefer going to the bank to go and do their transactions. You can imagine how bad it has been for us here”, he said.