The total grounding of Nigerian universities seems imminent as non-academic staff have threatened to embark on a two–week initial industrial action should the government fail to meet their demands by March 27.
The teaching staff under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are already in the second of their three-month initial strike.
ASUU had also started its strike with an initial four weeks on February 14th and extended it by two months when meetings with the government yielded no positive results.
Union writes minister
In a letter addressed to the office of the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) accused the government of insincerity in its implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA) reached with the government in October 2020 and February 2021 respectively.
The letter, written at the end of a meeting held on Wednesday to appraise the implementation of the agreements it had with the government, and signed by Peters Adeyemi, General Secretary, NASU and Mohammed Ibrahim National President, SSANU, gave the Nigerian government up till March 27 to address its demands or face an initial two-weeks strike.
JAC had given two weeks ultimatum to the government to implement the said demands, while it issued ‘red alerts’ to its members, asking them to prepare for a possible showdown with the government.
Parts of the letter reads: “In view of this, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU arising from its meeting is hereby using this opportunity through your exalted office to give the Federal Government up to Sunday, 27th March, 2022 to do the needful in respect of our members’ agitations, failing which we would have no other option than to direct our members in the Universities and Inter university Centres in Nigeria to proceed on 2 weeks warning strike in the first instance to drive home demands of our members in the Universities and Inter-University Centres.
“The meeting was shocked that 2 weeks after giving the Federal Government an ultimatum nothing tangible has come out of it and that Government has not even acknowledged the letter with a response as expected.
“Relating to this is our letter dated 1st March, 2022 in respect of same, in which nothing has come out of it despite the fact that JAC has given 21 days ultimatum to the Federal Government in respect of our members’ grievances and agitations on the non-implementation of the agreements.”
The national vice president of SSANU, Abdussobur Salaam, had listed the items in the said agreement to include the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, payment of earned allowances, usurpation of non-academic career positions by vice-chancellors, inclusion of university staff school into the university community, non-payment of minimum wage arrears, and funding of state universities.
He said university vice-chancellors have continued to defy a court order declaring that the teachers of universities’ staff schools are integral members of the university community.
He added that the government has only paid less than N8 billion of the N30 billion it agreed upon.
“The memorandum of understanding we had was that the renegotiation will be concluded within six weeks. And that was as far back as February, 2021. And if you count six weeks from that time we will be talking about sometime in May or maybe April. But here we are, a year later, we have not even been invited for one meeting despite our reminders.” he had said in an interview