—-Promises to address grievances of Varsity non teaching staff
—-FG in habit of breaching agreement with workers—NLC
—-SSANU, NASU, SSANU stage protest over corruption in Varsities
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE National Assembly Thursday promised to look into the allegations of corruption in the Nigerian Universities in order to sanitize the system.
This is as the non teaching staff in the universities under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, has accused the university administrations of indulging in corrupt practices while the government appears not to be disturbed with the ugly situation despite the Federal Government anti-corruption fight.
Meantime, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has accused the Federal Government of always breaching agreements it freely entered into with workers.
JAC comprising the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions, NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, staged a protest at the Ministry of Education and the National Assembly over the alleged decay in the universities.
Security operatives had a hectic day at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, when they tried to stop the protesting university non teaching staff to have access to the Ministry of Education where they had gone to register their protest with the Minister, Malam Adamu Adamu.
The protesting workers had to use all their strength to force the gate that was locked with heavy presence of the policemen to open for the workers led by the National President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and the Chairman of JAC, Comrade Samson Ugwoke to gain access to the ministry.
Infuriated by the development, the workers chanted anti Adamu songs and even called for his resignation.
At the National Assembly, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki represented by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim from Yobe East assured the protesting workers that the National Assembly would look into their grievances especially the allegation of corruption in the universities.
Senator Ibrahim flanked by Senators Shehu Sani and Ahmed Sani Yerima as well as Rep Jarigbe Agon Jarigbe said, “impunity brings anarchy, so I want to assure you that we are going to fight corruption in the universities squarely..
“I also want to assure that every worker will get its allowances. All the demands that you have made will be tabled before the house.”
Also speaking, Senator Sani Shehu, assured the non academic teaching staff that in the name of the struggle and in the name of the Nigerian people that he will peruse their demand to logical conclusion.”
Presenting their grievances, the Chairman of JAC and National President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke said, “We need to let the National Assembly to know why we are sad, we need to let them know and sentizes them on the injustices that are going on the university system.
“We need to let them know the plight of the Nigerian universities and also workers in the system. We want them to come in and investigate the universities and find out why our graduates are not employable. We are not pleased with the state of affairs and strongly believe that with your intervention, all matters that led to the current industrial action of the Joint Action Committee unions shall be address.
“We also deem it imperative to humbly draw the attention of His Execellency on the ongoing strike action embarked upon by the non teaching staff unions based on our demands for the full proper implementation of our 2009 agreement. We have also had several meetings with the federal government.
“The specific issues are one, the reinstatement of our members in the university staff schools, who were removed from the budget of the universities based on obnoxious budget call circular from National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission in gross contravention of the 2009 agreement with federal government which also the National Industrial Court has ruled in our favour.
“Two, the issue of payment of Earned Allowances where a sum of N23 billion released by government in September 2017, was skewed in favour of a sister union by some government officers thereby leaving 11 percent of the said amount to the non teaching staff.
“Three, the issue of shortfalls in salary payment where our members have been receiving fractions of their salaries for upward of a year now. Four, the issue of career progression for Technologists to CONTISS 14 and 15, in line with the agreement reached with NAAT.
“Five, Usurpation of non teaching career positions by academic staff and six corruptions in the universities system. We also want to state that we have signed two different MOUs with government through the Minister of Labour, yet to no avail. Nothing tangible on ground except verbal assurances. But rather a segment of university system was being favour to our detriment. So we want you to intervene.”
The NLC President, Comrade Wabba said, “The rally has become necessary as government keeps reneging on its promises. So, the strike must continue until justices is done because the sector need more attention as they have not been able to receive the desired attention it deserves
“So everything possible needs to be done for this sector because of our future generations. So it must be a priority of government and all stakeholders We must also ensure that the right thing is done.”
Speaking earlier at the Ministry of Education, the Director, Tertiary Education in the ministry, Mr. Joel Ojo who stood in for the Minister said, “The ministry is doing all to ensure that the issues affecting the university system is resolved immediately
“The ministry is interfacing with the National Assembly and modalities have been put in place to resolve the ongoing strike and make sure normalcy returns to the universities. I want to assure you that the Federal government is committed and I want to plead with you to give us some time.”