PAUL OMOKUVIE, Bauchi
The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi has joined the five day national warning strike embarked upon by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU).
The two Unions under the umbrella of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of ATBU, said that they complied with the directives by their National leadership to press home their demands from the federal government.
The JAC Chairman, Comrade Austin Jadi, said that it was unfair for the federal government to be selective in addressing the problems in the University system, adding that the decision to join the warning strike was based on serious and genuine issues.
He berated the federal government for failing to honour the 2009 agreements and a court order.
He said that the federal government’s refusal to obey the court order was akin to corruption by the same government that claims to be fighting corruption.
“If you cannot respect court judgement, it is equally corruption and if you cannot do what is expected and respect the collective bargain documents that you entered into, it is part of corruption. So we feel that the government that is fighting corruption should do the needful that all these issues are addressed once and for all so that the Universities will not remain closed forever,” he said.
Jadi said that the frequent strikes by universities had caused them pain, deaths and grief.
He said: “Many of us have died without reinstating the staff schools, people have lost their families because husbands and wives have divorced for failing to meet their obligations. So we feel the issues should be looked into.”
He charged the government to ensure that all the issues are sorted out before the end of the year because the government had promised to declare a state of emergency in education.
“Government should declare emergency in the educational sector so that our universities will remain afloat at least for the period of 10 to 20 years without any strike and if we do that, posterity will continue to judge us and judge our leaders.
“We want to bequeath to our younger ones the future that all of them will be happy about and a good legacy rather than strike everywhere and every time. The President should put round pecks in round holes in the appointment of Minister of Education who should be a technocrat that knows what is actually happening in the educational system,” he said.