By: Chinenyeh Ozor
The national body of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Nigerian universities have declared the 44th matriculation of university of Nigeria, Nsukka illegal as the matrix was conceived on crisis of illegality over the ongoing national strike of the unions across universities in the country.
Dr. Leku Ador national vice president of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian universities ( SSANU) made the declaration at the university of Nigeria, Nsukka during a peaceful protest of senior staff association of Nigerian universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Technologies (NATS) the three unions that made up JAC that has been on strike for over two months over none payment of earned allowances to the university workers across the country.
Dr. Ador said that the matriculation was illegal because management of university of Nigeria, Nsukka hired the services of postgraduate students and youth coppers to do the work of the non teaching staff of the university in order to hold the matriculation against the earlier warning of JAC not to hold the matrix till the strike is called off.
He explained that the national body of JAC held closed door meeting with the university management for five hours on the issue of the matriculation but the management would not listen and were hell-bent on holding the matriculation.
” we assembled at the gate of the university chanting solidarity songs to show the world that non teaching staff of universities across the country were not in support of the matriculation only for the police to throw canister tear gases on harmless members of JAC, chased us to a point on the instructions of the two deputy vice chancellors of administration and academic who stood at the gate with team of police men. Some of the members sustained wounds while trying to escape the tear gases being released on us at intervals” he noted.
” The UNN branch of JAC had earlier issued stern warning to the management and went round to faculties and hostels appealed to staff and students to disregard the matriculation as most the first year students have not been giving registration numbers while some are still grappling to pay school fees but the management defiled the warning and held the matrix in crisis”
He pointed out that the vice chancellors in Nigerian universities uses the internally generated revenue (IGR) the. wrong way than solving immediate needs of universities. adding that the case of university of Nigeria, Nsukka is peculiar as the vice chancellor Prof Benjamin Ozumba has taken the national strike personal by arresting JAC chairman of UNN branch Mr. Paul Obodoike Erua twice.
” Paul Erua was recently bundled out from his home around 3am with his two sons after breaking his window from where police gained entry, teas gased the apartment , his wife fainted and was rushed to hospital for medical attention ”
“The canister tear gases expended on us the national executives of JAC at university of Nigeria, Nsukka was the climax of the whole show while protesting for our legitimate right for the federal government to pay us. Federal government reneged on the MoUs it signed with the unions since 2009 to date which prompted the ongoing national strike which is total till the needful is done and the earned allowances paid in full”
Dr Ador said that the case of UNN has been taken over by the national body of JAC and warned the local branch not to engage in any meeting with the management of the university of Nigeria,Nsukka adding that JAC national would henceforth over see the activities of the UNN branch since the meeting with the management ended in deadlock as they refused to listen.
Vanguard reports that the divisional police officer Nsukka urban division Badamasi Musa did everything humanly possible to calm down the situation but a superior institution never allowed his efforts to be fruitful as canister tear gases rented the air while students at different faculties were busy holding the matrix without molestation. However, no casualty was recorded in the cause of the protest in the university.