As the five-day warning strike declared by members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) in public universities entered second day, yesterday, some parents and students has appealed to the Federal Government to resolve the ongoing dispute with the non-teaching staff.
The unions under the aegis of Joint Action Committee (JAC) SSANU and NASU had declared the industrial action to drive home their demands for the payment of their earned allowances, the university staff schools’ matter and the renegotiation of the 2019 Federal Government’s agreement with the unions.
They vowed to continue indefinitely if their demands were not met at the end of the warning strike.
The industrial action, the unions claimed, was due to the failure of the Federal Government to show commitment toward meeting their demands after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum.
The leadership of the unions accused the government of failing to show firm commitment toward resolving the issues raised, including the payment of earned allowances to members, University Staff Schools tussle and the renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement
Some affected parents and students, who spoke in separate interviews decried the incessant strikes and called for a solution.
A former lawmaker in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Afeez Adeleke, advised the Federal Government to convene an education summit with major stakeholders in order to finding an enduring solution.
Adeleke, who was the Chairman, House Committee on Education, expressed optimism that such summit would find a lasting solution to the crisis and incessant industrial actions.
A businessman, Mr. Ismail Koleoso, who claimed to have two students at the University of Ibadan, also appealed to the Federal Government and the unions to find a solution in the interest of the nation.
Another parent, Mrs. Maryam Isalu, also appealed to government to speed up the reconciliation process with the striking unions to save the education sector.
For Miss Temitope Agoro, final year student of the University of Ibadan, it is strike too many.
“I can’t even count the number of times the unions had gone on strike since I was admitted there. This is a warning strike and the Federal Government should please help us and attend to their needs. We don’t want them to declare an indefinite strike that will not help anyone at all, ” she said.
Another student, Adeleke Opeyemi, also appealed to both sides to work for peace and reach a compromise in the interest of the students.
The action was total at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), as the striking unionists blocked entrance to enforce compliance.
Administrative activities at the Senate building and the general offices of the various departments were grounded as members were turned back at the gate.
At the Imo State University (IMSU), however, the enforcement was limited as a result of the ongoing screening examinations for prospective students.
The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Ralph Njoku-Obi said members of the striking unions, who were involved in the screening examination, were cleared to work for the duration of the examinations.
The strike has gained more ground at the Lagos State University (LASU), as the workers fully complied with the strike directive.
Mr. Saheed Oseni, chairman of SSANU said non-teaching activities had been paralysed.
“All our members are not on duty and all offices have been shut, except for the lecture theatre to enable students to write their examinations,” he said.
He advised government to use the strike period to invite the leadership of the unions to a roundtable toward resolving all pending issues and meeting the unions’ demands.
He said that meeting the demands was key to preventing education sector from going into comatose.
Mr. Sanni Ige, chairman of NASU also confirmed that the strike was being observed in the university.