Universities in total shutdown, as SSANU and NASU begin 2-week warning strike
* Afenifere urges Buhari to address education sector challenges
Deji Elumoye and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Federal universities across the country are reportedly experiencing a total shutdown of their activities following the decision of the Union of Senior Universities Staff (SSANU) and the Union of Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU) to respectively begin a two-week warning strike.
Their counterpart, the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) had been on strike for two months to force the federal government to meet its demands.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of SSANU and NASU, the unions explained: “Having waited too long, this is to inform you that the government has not responded or reacted to our demands right now.
“Given the nonchalant attitude of the government towards our demands, it is a question of ordering our members in all universities and interuniversity centers in the country to begin a warning strike before midnight on Sunday March 27, 2022, in first place as forwarded to the federal government earlier in our letter.
“Know that the two-week warning strike must be comprehensive and total as no concessions should be made under any pretext.”
The statement jointly signed by SSANU National President, Mohammed Ibrahim and NASU General Secretary, Mr. Adeyemi Peters, ordered all union members to strictly abide by the industrial action, adding that it was Mandatory for all branches of SSANU and NASU.
The two unions previously gave the federal government strike notice through a letter to the Department of Labor and Employment dated March 16, 2022.
The JAC had, in a letter addressed to the Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who is the chief conciliator and dated March 16, 2022, accused the government of insincerity in its implementation of the protocol of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA) concluded with the government in October 2020 and February 2021 respectively.
The letter, signed by Ibrahim and Adeyemi, gave the federal government until March 27 to respond to its demands or face an initial two-week strike.
The JAC of the two non-academic staff members of SSANU and NASU in the letter entitled: “Looming Industrial Action and Notice of Warning Strike”, recalled the contents of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Memorandum of Understanding concluded with the Federal Government on October 20, 2020 and February 25th, 2021, respectively and concluded that the federal government has not been sincere with the implementation of the agreements
The unions further recalled the letter to the government on the same subject dated March 1, 2022, regretting that nothing came of it despite the fact that the JAC gave a 21-day ultimatum for members’ grievances to be dealt with.
The two unions also said they were ready to introduce their preferred mode of payment, the University Particular Pay and Personnel System (U3PS), which they said would address all the challenges unions were facing. in the payment of their wages.
The U3PS according to Ibrahim, is a system that adapts to the particularities of the Nigerian university system.
“The system manages the financial records of all employees in an automated and hassle-free way. This includes employee salaries, bonuses, deductions, net pay, generation of compensation notices, and other financial reports using best accounting practices.
“U3PS essentially seeks to automate the micro-administrative tasks performed by the office of the accountant general and bursars of federal institutions, thereby giving the office the mental bandwidth to focus on the macro,” they added.
Meanwhile, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the challenges facing the country’s education sector.
The group recalled the assertion made by Buhari during the 2022 Convocation Ceremony of the National Open University (NOUN) which took place in Abuja on March 26.
According to a statement by Afenifere, Buhari had in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. David Gende, said that the root cause of the crises in Nigeria could be attributed to the ignoring.
In his words, “It is common knowledge that the root cause of the recorded crises of nationality that we are experiencing in Nigeria is the result of ignorance which can only be through the provision of education.”
The group, while praising the president for acknowledging that the citizenship challenges facing the country could be attributed to a lack of proper education, however, asked the federal government what it was doing about the issue.
Afenifere said, “It is common knowledge that the education sector is suffering the most under this administration. At no time in the country’s history has education been so abused as under this government. In February, Ministers of Education and Labor Adamu Adamu and Chris Ngige visited President Buhari in a London hospital to wish him a speedy recovery. The visit took place at a time when university professors were on strike.
“There were no reports that the education crisis that was burning then and now had been discussed – let alone resolved – during the visit.
“As of this writing, ASUU is still on strike, just as some other unions in the higher education sector are also threatening to strike. There is no indication that the issue is of any interest to the government.
“How then are we going to take seriously the statement of the president during the convening of the NOUN?”.
He therefore called on Buhari to use his remaining 14 months in power to reverse the horrific fate that is plaguing the country in all spheres of life.