By Henry Umoru, Dayo Adesulu & Alemma Aliu
ABUJA— The Senate, yesterday, pleaded with the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, to jettison their planned nationwide strike in the interest of students.
Consequently, it resolved to engage SSANU and NASU to ensure a lasting solution was found to issues that triggered the warning strike.
Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a point of order raised by Senator Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North, who drew the attention of his colleagues to the looming strike by the labour unions.
Senator Jibrin, who came under Order 42 and 52 of the Standing Orders as Amended, said: “It is saddening that the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, and Non-academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities, NASU, have given notice of commencing an industrial action over a number of issues which, if not addressed and resolved, will truncate the smooth running of universities in the country.
Jibrin expressed concerns over alleged refusal by the federal government to heed to their request since 2006.
According to him, the grievances of the two bodies also included the delay in the payment of the gratuity and pension of their members and refusal to attend to other agreements earlier reached with the government.
The senator, who noted that the allegation of the two unions that ASUU was being accorded preferential treatment by the federal government should be looked into, said of the funds released to public universities, 80% was earmarked as academic allowances, while only 20% was allocated to non-academic staff.
Jibrin regretted that rather than accept what they were given by the federal government, SSANU and NASU were making fresh demands of the release of N20 billion to non-teaching staff and allowance for 2009 to 2016.
Other senators who contributed, supported that the Senate and other relevant government agencies should quickly step into the matter and avert the impending strike.
They warned that any industrial action from these unions would negatively affect learning and the entire economy.
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, hailed Jibrin for bringing up the matter, even as he assured that the Senate would intervene to stop the strike.
SSANU hails compliance
Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, has expressed satisfaction over the level of compliance in the three days warning protest which started Monday on various campuses.
SSANU and NASU, had directed their members in all public universities to proceed on three days warning protest over non-payment of their academic welfare package.
The unions are specifically displeased over the sharing formula of 80 to 20 in favour of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the N25 billion recently released by the Federal Government to Nigerian universities.
Its National Public Relations Officer, Mr Abdussobur Salaam, who spoke with Vanguard on phone yesterday, said: “The reports we have got from the South-East, South-South and South-West have been impressive, as most of the branches complied and have shown evidence of compliance.”
“University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Nigeria Nsukka University of Illorin, University of Kano, University of Benin, University of Lagos, Uuniversity of Jos, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Federal University of Science and Technology, Akure, University of Bayelsa and Federal University of Gashua to mentioned a few all complied and provided evidences of compliance.”
According to him, apart from the institutions showing documentary evidences of compliance, SSANU also sent men who are non-members of those branches to monitor the members.
Salaam, however, disclosed that the protest which started on Monday, would be rounded off today.
He said: “Tomorrow (today)) is the last day for the protest before we go into full blown strike, if the Federal Government does not accede to our demand. We are hoping not to go on strike if we have our ways, it is not our wish and desire to go on strike.
“We have not had any feed back from the Federal Government since the commencement of the strike. We wrote them before the protest, informing them of our displeasure over the state of affairs, but we have not received any response from the Federal Government.”