By Gabriel Dike, Lagos
Protesting members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) on Thursday warned that its members may not resume work on January 18 as directed by the Federal Government unless their demands are met.
On day three of the protests at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the protesting non-teaching staff stormed the main gate and locked it to prevent members from gaining access to the offices
Chairmen of SSANU and NASU University of Lagos branch dropped the bombshell at the last day of the three-days warning protest over the non-implementation of their demands.
NASU UNILAG Chairman Mr Kehinde Ajibade said the non-teaching workers are not prepared for the re-opening of universities on January 18 if government fails to address the issues in contention.
‘We are not guaranteeing parents and stakeholders of re-opening of the universities on January 18. The importance of non-teaching staff can not be over emphasis in the Nigerian University System (NUS). The government have not met our demands, so our members may not resume unless urgent something is done to our issues.’
Ajibade appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the ongoing issue and direct the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu to resolve the labour crisis in the university system.
‘The Federal Government should be held responsible for non-reopening of the universities. If the government fails to address our demands, Nigerians should not hold us responsible if universities did not re-open.’
SSANU UNILAG Chairman Mr Olusola Sowunmi said the non-teaching staff of the university have passed a vote of no confidence on Ngige and Adamu because of the injustice and unfair treatment meted out to SSANU and NASU members.
Sowunmi added: ‘We call on President Buhari to remove Ngige and Adamu from office as their continue stay is a threat to non-teaching workers in the NUS because of their approach to issues affecting us. Both have treated SSANU and NASU member as beggars.’
He also said that non-teaching staff are not ready to resume in the NUS because government and university management have not put in place measures to protect their members from COVID-19 pandemic, adding that ‘there is no provision for safety measures for our members. It is not even safe to reopen the universities.’
The chairman explained that even the 25 percent share of the N40 billion for non-teaching staff have been used by government to divide the three non-teaching staff unions.
Ajibade and Sowunmi decried the irregularities in the implementation of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of two years arrears on the minimum wage to universities workers nationwide, non-payment of retirement benefit to retired members and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.