*Threaten to ground varsities over demands
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), yesterday, threatened to ground universities in the country should the Federal Government fail to fulfil its demands, including a N40 billion payment.
To show seriousness, the two unions have begun a three-day nationwide warning protest in response to government’s alleged failure to address any of the issues contained in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by both parties in recent years.
At the University of Ibadan (UI), the JAC of both unions converged on the main gate of the institution, marching through the Administrative Block, which houses office of the Vice chancellor.
The protest was led by the SSANU’s National Vice-President, Western Zone, Mr. Alfred Jimoh and NASU Secretary, UI, Mr. Sunday Akinpelu. The protesters carried placards with inscriptions that captured demands of the two unions.
Some of them read: “JAC-SSANU/NASU says no to non-constitution of visitation panels for universities”; JAC-SSANU/NASU says no to inconsistencies in the IPPIS payment, nonpayment of Earned Allowance (EA), non-payment of arrears of minimum wage”; “We reject teaching staff usurping of non-teaching headships of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures”; “JAC-SSANU/NASU say no to non-payment of retirement benefits of our outgone members of staff, neglect and poor funding of state universities” and “JAC-SSANU/NASU say no to renegotiating of FG/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements.”
Speaking on the occasion, Jimoh stated: “We want to place it on record that the Federal Government has been behaving as if ASUU, with due respect to them, is the only one that needed to be attended to in the Nigerian university system, and that as long as they satisfy their demands, then others can go and jump into the lagoon.
“The signal we are sending to the Federal Government through this protest is that they can go ahead and do what they want to do with ASUU. If you like, you can take the whole of the N40 billion and give it to ASUU, and say the rest of us should go and jump into the lake. If you do that and you have any peace in the university system, it will be a peace of the graveyard.
“We will see how anybody will run the university system without attending to us. It is better you give us our N40 billion and give ASUU their own for peace to return to the university system.”
On his part, Akinpelu stated: “We have been pushed to the wall and we are ready to face anybody. We are ready to face the Federal Government. Enough is enough. How can you say you cherish one child more than the other children?”
The strike was also observed by the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi chapters. The JAC chairman, Comrade Sulieman Jatau, told reporters that the action was to press home their eight demands. He regretted that nothing had been to the pact struck with government on October 20,2020.
In Federal University Lokoja (FUL), Kogi State, the chapter SSANU marched as early as 8:00a.m. to agitate for actualisation of their demands.
In a statement yesterday, the chairman, SSANU/JAC, Uche Onyedi, threatened complete shutdown of the institution in the event of failure by government to implement the agreement.
At the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State, Chairman of SSANU/ JAC, Comrade Osewa Bedrocks, said: “The protest is to sensitise the public and let government know that we can not be taken for a ride.
“You (government) cannot sign and will not obey agreements. Besides, the government has also failed to reconstitute panel for renegotiation of pending agreements.” Also speaking, NASU chairman, Comrade Andy Igbinosa, stated that the protest would last between 8:00a.m. and 4:00p.m. daily.