No going back on strike in varsities

de afaa ssanu nasu x
de afaa ssanu nasu x

By Gabriel Dike and Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The non-academic staff unions in the university system would today embark on strike to protest the non-implementation of their demands by the Federal Government.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) approved the industrial action, which commenced midnight on Sunday.

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Ahead of the two weeks warning strike, branch chairmen in public universities have mobilised members.

Chairman of NASU University of Lagos branch, Mr. Kehinde Ajibade, said all essential services on campus such as water supply, electricity and security would be disrupted. Drivers attached to senior management of university would also withdraw their services. He said NASU congress would hold and from there members would be asked to go home while the university management would be notified through a letter.

Branch chairman of SSANU UNILAG, Mr. Showunmi Olusola, said members were fully prepared, stating that “we have sensitised our members since Thursday on what is expected during the strike.’’

Olusola said it was the Federal Government that had pushed the non-teaching staff to go on strike, adding, “we sympathise with our students. Strike is the only language the Federal Government understands. Initially, we allowed for skeletal services but today, it is total shut down. The National Executive Council has withdrawn any area of concession that we used to grant before.

“We have been at these issues since 2009. Cost of living has increased since 2009. Our members are dyeing on a regular basis. We can sustain this further. Our members have been pushed to the wall.”

Among the demands are the inconsistence in the IPPIS payment, non-payment of earned allowances, delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SSANU agreement, non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage, usurpation of headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of Conditions of Service and Establishment procedures, neglect and poor funding of state universities and non-payment of retirement benefit of outgoing members. 

Meanwhile, students under the umbrella of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) would shutdown streets, highways and other public facilities today to register their frustrations with the inability of the Federal Government and university lecturers 

to resolve their differences and reopen campuses.

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On March 16, the National Executive Council (NEC) of NANS at their expanded meeting in Abuja, asked all the parties to reach a compromise on or before today to avoid the unfriendly mass action.

It also asked the National Assembly to do everything possible within the period to end the strike to avoid possible breakdown of law and order by the students. Unfortunately, that was not done.

The students’ body threatened that if the strike continue after the expiration of the ultimatum, they would move to the streets and resume at the new University created by the Federal Government and ASUU called ‘The University of the Street’.

NANS President, Sunday Asefon, explained that the Main Campus of the University will be on the Airport Road, Abuja; while the Annex Campuses will be in all the major roads in Abuja, and Distance Learning Centres in all the Federal Roads across the 36 State of the Federation.

Asefon, in a statement confirmed that student leaders at all levels have been directed to besiege the streets to register their frustrations.

“sequel to our ultimatum issued to Federal Government and ASUU to find lasting solution to their face-off for our university to reopen on or before 28th March, 2023.

“With no hope insight for resumption of academic activities on our campuses, NANS leaders at all levels have been directed to mobilize students to resume their academic activities on the newly created university of street, Abuja .

“Students are enjoined to come along with their cooking utensils, mattresses, mosquito treated net and other needed logistics to make the stay conducive as the protest may last longer than expected until Campuses are reopened.”

Asefon said the Coordinator of NANS zone C, Abah Owoicho Abah, has been appointed as Registrar of the new “University of Abuja Street” and coordinator of the mass occupational protest.