As the prolonged industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities entered the 256th day in the University of Port Harcourt, business owners within the 3 campuses of the institution have called on the striking lecturers to shift grounds following the offers made by the Federal Government.
In a chat, they lamented that the strike has slowed down their businesses and they do not make as much profit as they used to.
A food vendor who carries out her business at the Abuja campus said, since the students left campus, following the strike, the business has not been as buoyant as it used to.
“Before now, I make a good amount of money on a daily basis. Customers are never lacking in this shop. I have enough to pay my workers and fend for my family. But since the strike, I have been struggling,” she said.
The food vendor also stated that she sometimes has to take the food back home, since it was not finished during the course of the day.
“I know how much I lose every day. Sometimes I have to take the food back, if not it will get bad.”
Speaking on this, a computer operator who did not want to give her name said that they now have to cut down on the cost of typing and printing, since very few people patronize them.
“Now we don’t charge as much as we used to. You must first see a customer to fix a price. So now that only a few people are coming, we don’t have a choice. Whatever they offer, we will take,” she said.
On his part, a shuttle driver known as ‘Dee’ who plies Abuja park to Delta Park route complained that the strike has also cut down on his daily income expectation.
Dee, who says he runs “hire purchase” lamented that he has not been able to meet up with his weekly payment because of low income.
“I run hire purchase. Before now, I make remittance to my Oga every week. But now, it is difficult. Previously I run about 12 times or more sometimes, in a day. Now, very few people are on campus.”
He further pleaded with the striking lecturers to consider the offer made by the Federal Government and call off their strike, so “things can return to normal.”
Around the three campuses of the University of Port Harcourt, the student community contributes more than 70 per cent to the income of business owners on Campus.
The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has adversely affected the income of these service providers, making most of them merge with others just to be able to generate income.
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