Non-academic staff’s three-month strike paralyses activities at Nigeria’s universities Epidemic breakout looms, as FG’s silence worries stakeholders
The strike action embarked by the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, nearly three months ago has paralysed activities at the nation’s tertiary institutions, as most offices, classrooms, libraries and laboratories have remained under lock and key.
The Joint Action Committee, JAC, of the three non-teaching staff unions in the universities, comprising NASU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU and National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, had embarked on strike early December last year over non-payment of earned allowances put at over N9billion, among other things.
Investigations showed that the strike has virtually paralysed teaching and learning activities in the universities and other tertiary institutions in the country since December.
For instance, most of the new intakes for the 2017/2018 academic session admitted in the last week of November last year shortly before the commencement of the strike have yet to be given hostel accommodations handled strictly by non-teaching staff of the institutions.
This is also the case with the classrooms, libraries, laboratories, which have remained under lock and key as a result of the strike since the non-teaching teaching staff are not on ground to perform their functions.
It was further gathered that more frightening is the looming breakout of epidemic as a result of the filthiness of the university community, especially around the students’ hostels since the junior cadre of the non-teaching members of staff who undertake the general cleaning of the environment including the hostels and their toilets are also members of the various striking unions.
Stakeholders have however expressed worries over the seeming indifference of the Federal Government, as the relevant agencies of the government have chosen to keep mum as against expectations that the striking workers would be called to a round table for discussions.
The stakeholders have therefore enjoined the government and its relevant agencies to commence a process of negotiation with the striking university workers with a view to salvaging the already battered public educational system in the country.
Recall that the General Secretary of NASU, Mr. Peter Adeyemi, had penultimate week vowed that the union would sustain the on-going strike in the tertiary institutions across the country.
According to him: “The union would do everything possible, but within the law, to ensure that government met our demands, including staging a protest at National Assembly”. He blamed the current strike on the non-implementation of the 2010 agreement by the Federal Government. He said: “The non-implementation of the agreement we reached with the Federal Government in 2010 is the reason we decided to go into this action. It has got to a stage where we have to take our collective destinies in our own hands. “It is unfortunate that we are in a country where the government is paying lip service to research and development. Developed economies of the world focus more on research for economic breakthroughs because there is no country that can develop without research. Therefore, our research institutes would be shut down until our demands are fully met.”