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Monday, April 15, 2024

NASU, SSANU, Begin Strike Today, Ground Varsities

Government Inaction Sparks Union Fury: Threat of University Shutdown Looms

In a blistering critique of government inaction, Ibrahim, the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), voiced his frustration over the lack of communication and compliance from government officials. He bemoaned the absence of formal outreach to non-academic unions, highlighting the disconnect between assurances given unofficially and tangible action.

Ibrahim’s concern escalated when he hinted at potential saboteurs within the government, questioning why directives from President Bola Tinubu regarding the payment of 2022 arrears to university union members were not being fully adhered to by certain officials. This apparent disregard for presidential directives left Ibrahim and his colleagues feeling undermined and neglected.

Despite issuing a seven-day notice to the government, Ibrahim noted the glaring absence of engagement from the Labour Minister, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, contrasting her responsiveness unfavorably with her predecessor, Chris Ngige. The lack of dialogue exacerbated tensions, leaving the unions feeling marginalized and ignored.

As the deadline approached, Ibrahim issued a stark warning: failure to address their demands would result in a resumption of industrial action. The prospect of another strike loomed large, with SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) prepared to escalate their protest if their grievances remained unaddressed.

The crux of their demands revolved around unpaid 2022 arrears, affecting not only SSANU members but also key university personnel such as Vice Chancellors, registrars, and bursars. The threat of shutting down university operations extended beyond mere inconvenience, as Ibrahim emphasized the far-reaching implications for students and staff alike.

The ultimatum set forth by SSANU and NASU on March 11, 2024, underscored the seriousness of their intent. With the looming deadline of March 18, 2024, tensions reached a boiling point as the unions stood firm in their resolve to hold the government accountable.

The potential shutdown of university facilities cast a shadow of uncertainty over the academic landscape, prompting urgent calls for dialogue and resolution. The standoff between government officials and union leaders highlighted deeper systemic issues plaguing the education sector, with lingering grievances simmering beneath the surface.

As the clock ticked down, all eyes turned to the corridors of power, awaiting a decisive response from government authorities. The fate of thousands of students and university staff hung in the balance, as the specter of industrial action threatened to disrupt the academic calendar once again.

In the face of mounting pressure, the government faced a stark choice: address the legitimate concerns of the unions or risk plunging the education sector into further turmoil. The coming days would test the resilience of both parties, with the hopes of a resolution resting on the willingness to engage in constructive dialogue and meaningful action.

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