Strike looms as university unions threaten nationwide shutdown

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) have threatened to shut down higher institutions in the country over the federal government’s refusal to approve their demands.

In an interview on Sunday evening, SSANU president, Mohammed Ibrahim, noted that the unions have issued the government a seven-day ultimatum adding that failure to meet their demand would lead to the closure of university in the country.

Ibrahim noted that both bodies would embark on a strike if nothing was done by the government at the end of the ultimatum.

“We are in charge of security, we are in charge of administration, we are in charge of medicals, we are in charge of hostels, we are in charge of electricity, we are in charge of everything apart from teaching. So, once our members down tools, no university can function in Nigeria,” Ibrahim said.

“It’s quite unfortunate. No union member wants to go on strike but when you are pushed to the wall, what would you do? You have to push back.

“You can see what is happening in the country. The economy is in conundrums and everybody is suffering. Most of our universities are located far outside the township and our members have to commute every day. Fuel cannot be accessed, food is scarce, our medicals can not be attended to, and members are suffering quite clearly,” he added.

Speaking about the union’s grievances, Ibrahim said: “It’s quite absurd that we have to speak like this and it is because we have been clearly shown that we do not matter in the system while we all know that there is no university that can function without the non-teaching staff.

“We are populated by professionals, we oil the engine in the administration of every university and therefore treating a segment of staff with disdain does not speak well of the system.

“In 2022, all the university-based unions were on strike – four of us. For us in NASU and SSANU, we went on strike on the 27th of March and we called it off on the 27th of August after the intervention of the then Minister of Education, Mal Adamu Adamu.

“We had an agreement that we signed with the government to review the situation and ensure that justice is done,” he added.

Ibrahim said the last part of the agreement was that no one should suffer for taking part in the strike and salaries should not be withheld.

He said the government however stopped the salaries of all non-teaching staff in May and was only restored in September of the same year, adding that the current government decided to pay the withheld salaries of only ASUU members.

“Today, as I speak to you, our colleagues in ASUU have been able to get theirs and no one is saying anything about NASU and SSANU,” he lamented.


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