Another round of strike looms in Nigerian universities as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, on Thursday, 18th June, 2015 threatened to paralyse activities in Nigerian universities if the Federal Government failed to rescind decision to privatise staff schools in the nation’s universities.
liveschoolnews.org grapevine gathered that Western zone of SSANU comprising universities in that axis, on Thursday staged the protest in reaction to a March 5, 2015, circular allegedly issued by the Federal Ministry of Education to universities to remove staff schools’ from their payrolls.
The association said the move was to privatize the primary schools and lay off staff who they said are part of the university organ. They vowed to shut down universities if the decision is not reviewed.
The placard-carrying SSANU members of the University of Ilorin, led by the vice president (West), Alfred Jimoh and chairman, Unilorin chapter, Adeleke Alfa-Nla, in a protest on the campus on Thursday, vowed to resist the alleged plan to throw them into unemployment market.
Some of the messages on the placards read: Enough of retrogressive policies in universities, No to privatisation of university staff schools, Federal Government should not throw universities into needless crisis, Job security is our right, we shall defend it, Reduce cost of governance to fund education, President Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians over one million jobs, not job loss.
The protesting SSANU members said that the import of the Federal Government circular, issued by the Ministry of Education stating that staff in the university staff schools should not be paid from university treasury or Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), was meant to privatise staff schools, charge high fees and pay teachers pea nuts.
The workers, who said they are also part of staff of the nation’s universities, added that authorities should bear expenditure and responsibilities of staff in the university staff schools, stressing that, “if there’s no money to pay SSANU staff, then, no one should be paid”.
“Having engaged the government in one of its most prolonged negotiations which culminated in the signing of 2009 agreement, SSANU hereby declares that it would defend the sanctity of every part of that agreement everything within its powers, including protests and other measures if industrial actions.
“Any attempt to desecrate the sanctity of our agreement by removing the staff of university staff schools from the nominal and pay rolls of universities, shall definitely throw the hitherto peaceful university system in Nigeria to another round of avoidable labour crisis.
“SSANU is of very strong opinion that the principles of equity, fairness and justice demand that it would not be out of place if children of university workers are allowed the same privileges of attending schools funded from the treasury, as children of military, police and even, other citizens ,whose children attend public schools”, he said.
Further speaking, Jimoh, said “anyone who dares us would have himself to blame.”
He said the 2009 agreement reached with the Federal Government should not be tampered with, adding that attempts to manipulate or misinterpret the agreement would be vehemently resisted.
The workers also demanded the sack of Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, saying he has overstayed.
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