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SSANU, NASU strike grounds varsities


Activities have been grounded in Nigerian universities by the strike embarked upon by non-academic staff across the country.

 At the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi (ATBU) where the students are writing their first semester examinations, striking members of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) grounded the conduct of all computer-based tests and examinations in the school.

The two groups separately declared the strike yesterday to press home their demands, forcing many students scheduled to undergo CBT exams to be stranded.

An ATBU student from the Department of Biology Education said, “We woke up ready at Yelwa Campus to undergo a CBT exam only to be told that the exams have been suspended.”

She said there was no prior notice for the suspension of the exams until Monday morning, adding it is a serious setback to their academic pursuit.

Speaking, the chairman of the NASU, ATBU branch, Comrade Yusuf Dan’azumi Yusuf said the strike became necessary because the Federal Government had not been fair and just to them compared to their Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) counterparts.

He said while ASUU members were paid four months of their owed salaries earlier held by the government, “our members were not considered for the same payment by the government despite a promise to that effect.

Comrade Yusuf said, “Unlike ASUU, we suspended our strike on our own after reasoning with the government, yet this magnanimity is not reciprocated by the government.

“We allowed some senior members such as the vice-chancellor, bursar and other key management staff to continue working for the university despite the strike to show some levels of compassion and consideration but to no avail,” he added.

Similarly, SSANU chairman, Comrade Sulisma Jatau, said the warning strike followed its earlier seven-day ultimatum issued to the federal government to address their concerns without any success.

To him, President Bola Tinubu had already given a directive for the payments of four months withheld salaries of their members but wondered why it was delayed, hence the need to withdraw services that seems to be the only language understood by the government.

Responding, director of information and public relations of the university, Zailani Bappa, said the one-week warning strike only affected the conduct of CBT exams, adding that pen and paper exams will go as planned.

Also, NASU and SSANU members at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) joined the industrial action in compliance to the directive of the national bodies of the two unions.

It was gathered that members of SSANU and NASU in the university held a congress at the gate of the institution Monday morning before departing for their homes.

The branch chairman of NASU, Comrade Zuberu Ibrahim, said members of the two unions involved complied totally with the directive of their national bodies.

“The compliance of our members to the strike is total. We held a congress at the gate of the University early on Monday before members were dispatched to their respective homes and this will continue in the next seven days,” he  said.

The public relations officer of SSANU in the university, Comrade Segun Alabi said the compliance of members to the strike was total.

Meanwhile, the academic staff in the university have taken control of the activities in the institution so that the ongoing students’ examination was not disrupted despite the non-academic staff’s strike.

The university’s director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Kunle Akogun, confirmed that the strike did not affect the ongoing students’ examination.

“We don’t want the strike to affect the students. The management made a special arrangement so that the ongoing examination would continue,” Akogun said.

Members of the Federal University of Lafia branches of SSANU and NASU also joined a nationwide warning strike.

 The striking members blocked the main gate of the university located on Makurdi Road, Lafia, to enforce the nationwide unfair treatment and disparity in the payment of withheld salaries by the federal government.

They carried placards with different inscriptions, such as “Pay us our salaries now”,  “We are not slaves”.

Mr. Daniel Dajen, chairman of the institution’s branch of SSANU, said the protest would continue for seven days as directed by the national bodies.

Administrative activities were paralysed at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) following the warning strike.

Addressing members during an emergency congress on Monday in UNN, Dr. Linus Akata, chairman of SSANU-UNN stated that the strike would be total and comprehensive in UNN, in total adherence and compliance to the directive of the national leadership.

He averred that all the administrative offices and essential service sections of the university were already under lock and key,

The union leader warned that the unions would deal decisively with any member found defaulting or sabotaging the seven-day warning strike.

Also, the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) yesterday declared a three-day warning strike, beginning on Wednesday this week over non-payment of the four months withheld salaries.

The development is second in a row after both NASU and SSANU began a strike over their exclusion from the payment yesterday.

In a statement issued yesterday its president, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, NAAT explained that the decision to embark on the warning strike was made at the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) emergency virtual meeting.

 “This is to enable the union to press home its demand for the payment of withheld salaries of members of NAAT as approved by the presidency,” he said.

FG Urges SSANU, NASU To Suspend Strike 

Meanwhile, the federal government has appealed to the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) to suspend their ongoing seven-day warning strike.

Minister of state for labour and employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who made the appeal, said that it undermines the federal government’s dedicated efforts to resolve the unions’ grievances.

According to the minister, in a statement by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, Olajide Oshundun, the unions did not formally notify the ministry of their strike plans, a move which she said contradicts the stipulations of Section 18 of the Trade Dispute Act.

She said that upon learning of the impending strike, the ministry promptly initiated contact with the union leaders to organise an emergency meeting and forestall the strike. Despite the inability to convene in person, a productive teleconference was held. 

She explained that following the dialogue, the ministry proposed a new date, Monday, 18th March, for a comprehensive conciliation meeting which was anticipated that the unions would postpone the strike pending the meeting’s outcome. But the unions declined this proposal, she said.

The minister reiterated her stance that strikes are counterproductive and should be the last recourse, only after all avenues for conciliation have been thoroughly explored.

She called upon both SSANU and NASU to reconsider their position and engage in constructive dialogue with the federal government.

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