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Strike: We’re sorry, SSANU, NASU beg students, parents

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), has appealed to students, parents and guardians not to see the strike embarked on by the two…

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), has appealed to students, parents and guardians not to see the strike embarked on by the two non-teaching unions as something done in bad faith, saying they should rather talk to the federal government to attend to their demands.

The union, which noted that its members were not ‘trigger-happy’ striking workers, explained that shutting down various universities became pertinent after the government had failed on several occasions to honour series of agreements signed in form of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

President of SSANU, Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust, said members of the union were worried that the students who just returned to schools after staying at home for ten months would likely return home until government does the needful in arresting the situation.

Ibrahim maintained that the strike embarked upon by the unions was to get the “best for the students” in terms of character moulding and best environment, adding they only went strike when government pushed them to the wall.

He said, “We are trying to save the situation. Our insistence of making sure that the environment is ripe and it’s okay for our members to operate, without hitches, is with the intention of ensuring that our students get moulded maturely and also gets attended to when they have problems.

“Nobody, no parent, at least not myself would want to send his ward to the university and then the student comes back in a very terrible state. So, we urge Nigerians, we plead with Nigerians, just like we have to talk to government.”

The Issues

Daily Trust reports that SSANU and NASU under the auspices of Joint Action Committee (JAC), on February 5 directed all its branches to commence an indefinite strike with a view to pressing home their demands bordering on alleged injustice on sharing formula of N40bn Earned Allowance and non-payment minimum wage arrears.

Other contentious issues raised include: inconsistencies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members among others.

Speaking further in an interview with our correspondent, SSANU President said, “Let the parents also understand and talk to government that they should do the needful, attend to the problems of the non-teaching staff in the universities, so that at least the environment will be clear, the students will get the best out of their training when they are in University.

“Note that university system is a very unique system. Universities are universal. What you get in the UK should be what you get in Nigeria but if government is not funding education properly, that cannot be feasible.

“Our position or yearnings to go on strike, and our struggle to get the best out of government for our members is with good intentions, it is not with bad intentions. You can count the number of times we had gone on strike. We don’t just go on strike, but when you’re pushed to the wall, you have to react.

“So, we are pleading with Nigerians, especially with the students, parents and guardians to understand that what we are doing is for the bigger future. If we compromise, and shut our mouth and allow this system to continue like that, with a very low morale staff, the students will come to the system and suffer, and they will go out without getting the best for themselves.”

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