Workers in Nigerian universities under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike over what they described an ‘obnoxious circular’ by the National Universities Commission.
The union therefore gave the Federal Government till Wednesday April 28, 2015, apparently one month within which it should address the issues or face industrial action in all the federal and state universities across the country.
The union said the circular was a mischief to obliterate the sanctity of its agreement with the Federal Government.
The position of SSANU is contained in a communiqué dispatched to journalists on Sunday in Abuja, after its National Executive Council meeting, held at Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State.
In the communiqué signed by its President, Samson Ugwoke, and Public Relations Officer, Mr. N.A.D. Aboribo, SSANU accused the NUC of unilaterally expunging through a circular the aspect of the agreement on university demonstration staff schools.
Besides, the union regretted the failure of the government to pay the outstanding arrears of the earned allowances and most especially the political statements being made by government functionaries about the payment, which has put serious pressure on the leadership of the union at the national and branch level.
SSANU also condemned the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government in implementing the 2009 agreement, despite its persistent call on the government and the Implementation Monitoring Committee for the full implementation and payment of the arrears of the earned allowance.
The communiqué read, “SSANU called for the full implementation and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement to forestall the disruption of the present smooth academic activities in the university system. We view with very grave concern, the actions of some government agencies in collaboration with certain selfish vice-chancellors to obliterate the sanctity of the 2009 FGN/university-based unions’ agreement by unilaterally expunging through a circular from the NUC the aspect of the agreement on university demonstration staff schools.
“SSANU-NEC-in-session hereby demands the immediate withdrawal of the obnoxious circular. For the avoidance of doubt, if by April 28, 2015, the circular has not been withdrawn by the NUC, the union will take labour action against the Federal Government. We frown on the overbearing attitude and unnecessary roles of the NIC in this regard.”
SSANU also warned the NUC to stop its undue meddling and interference in the affairs of the universities, so as not to overheat the Nigerian university system.
While demanding that the agreement should be implemented without further delay, the union criticized the continuous refusal of the Federal Government to renegotiate the said agreement “which is long overdue.”
The NEC-in-session warns Federal Government on the dangers of its insensitive stand on the matter, saying it was capable of completely eroding the relative peace in our universities.
“SSANU therefore urged the Federal Government to put machinery in place for the renegotiation of this agreement without any further delay.”
The union also warned against the victimization of its members and officers in various universities, and especially called for the reinstatement of 19 members of the union who were sacked at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko.
The union commended the Nigerian Armed Forces and its foreign allies for the recapture of most areas occupied by the Boko Haram terrorists in the north-eastern part of the country. SSANU called on the Federal Government to continue to adequately equip them and review Nigeria foreign policies with its neighbouring countries.
Speaking on the 2015 general election, the union condemned the hate speeches and unnecessary political killings currently being experienced in the build up to the 2015 general elections. The union urged politicians to place before Nigerians issue-based campaigns play the game by the rules and avoid violence.
SSANU also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that the elections were free, fair and credible.