…As Non-teaching staff strike paralyses activities at UNN***
Mr Wale Akinremi, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), University of Ibadan, says there is 95 per cent compliance on the five days warning strike directive by its national body.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akinremi made this disclosure in Ibadan on Monday while speaking on the resolve of SSANU and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) determination to get government attention on their three points demand.
“The non-teaching staff in the federal universities in Nigeria are on strike because of the failure of the government to listen to our plea and our position on the welfare of staff as well as development of the universities.
“Specifically, we have three issues that we are dragging; one is on our agreement with the government since 2009 on the monetary aspect, but government has not been attending to our request.
“Secondly, on the issue of the university staff school teachers, they were erroneously sacked by the government; we protested at that time, government took us to court and we got judgement in favour of the teachers but till date, government has yet to implement the judgement.
“These teachers are languishing in penury; the pupils don’t know what becomes of their future. The staff schools have produced ministers, senators and professors among others. The onus is on us to make sure that our institutions thrive.
“Thirdly, in that agreement, it is stated that we should be meeting every three years to review the position to know how far we have gone or if we are not moving at all and what we can do to move forward.
“It is not all about money, the whole world should know that we are not only asking for money”.
Also, Mr Malachy Etim, the NASU chairman UI, said all members of NASU are eager to comply because their welfare needs to be improved upon.
“If there is any lecture going on, it is the work of the lecturers as teaching is not our responsibility. We have locked some classrooms but some lecturers have the key, so they can open them.
“But offices are under lock. We are telling the federal government that failure to call us to a roundtable, we will declare an indefinite strike and close down all the universities,” he said.
NAN reports that the Univerisity of Ibadan gate was heavily guarded by security agents both by the men of the Nigerian Police Force and that of the Department of State Services.
NAN also reports that there were no vehicular movement into the campus as the gate was partially barricaded with mats spread across the road by the unions on strike.
However, some of the students who spoke with NAN on grounds of anonymity, said some of them had lectures while some said they were unable to get access into their classrooms.
In the meantime, administrative activities were brought to a halt on Monday at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, when non-teaching staff of the institution joined the nationwide five-day warning strike.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workers, operating under the aegis of Joint Action committee (JAC), were asking the Federal Government to release N30b for the payment of earned allowances for members in public universities.
The striking workers were also demanding the “Re-negotiating of 2009 agreement with Federal Government and integrating of University primary school teachers into government payroll.”
Speaking during the UNN congress, the Chairman of UNN-JAC, Mr Paul Eruah, said that the warning strike commenced on Monday and asked the non-teaching staff of the institution to go home.
Eruah said that the 14-day ultimatum issued to the federal government by JAC national secretariat expired on Aug. 18.
“After this congress, go home and come back on Monday, August 27, when we will declare an indefinite nationwide strike, if the federal government fails to yield to our demand,” he said.
He said that the union had set up a monitoring committee to ensure strict compliance with the strike, adding that defaulters would be sanctioned.
“Any non-teaching staff seen in any office will be sanctioned. Do not be afraid of victimisation from government or university management because the national body is behind you,” he said.
Eruah said that the essence of the action was to force the government to meet their demand.
A cross-section of the students interviewed by NAN urged the federal government and relevant stakeholders to quickly intervene to resolve the problem.
The respondents warned that an indefinite strike by non-teaching staff would adversely affect the current academic calendar.
NAN reports that no fewer than 1000 non-teaching staff in UNN attended the congress.