By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The non-teaching staff of the Nigerian Universities have accused the Federal government of discriminating against them and giving preferential treatment to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and warned that unless the government meets their demands, the warning strike which is expected to end on Friday may snowball into what they called mother of all strike.
They are insisting that the government release the sum of N30 billion to them for payment of their earned allowances, saying giving 80 per cent of the money earlier released to the universities to ASUU was too discriminatory.
Alfa who spoke under the Joint Action Committee, JAC of the two striking unions said that the 5-day warning strike embarked upon last Monday to press home their demands had been very successful.
The two unions which began a five-day warning strike last Monday said that the money was to be used to close the gap created by the discriminatory disbursement of the funds earlier approved for settlement of university workers’ Earned Allowances.
According to him, “the unions were protesting the continued discriminatory practice by the government in favour of the academic staff in the sharing of money meant for payment of earned allowances.
“Consequently, the JAC of SSANU and NASU is demanding the sum of N30 billion from the Federal Government for payment to the non-teaching staff in order to close the gap it created by the discriminatory allocations.
“Thereafter JAC expects that government will not allow such dichotomy to raise its ugly head in the system against after defraying the balance”.
“This repeated discriminatory practice by the government of the day in favour of ASUU and against the non-teaching staff is not only worrisome but has portrayed the present government as bias as well as causing divide and rule capable of creating disharmony in the system as an avenue to crumble and kill the university education system.
” Therefore, the JAC of SSANU and NASU is calling on all Nigerians to condemn this act of government with a view to correcting itself.
When asked to comment on the reappointment of Senator Chris Ngige as Minister of Labour and Employment, Alfa said that the unions are ready to cooperate with him, but that he should try to avoid past mistakes so as to ensure harmony in the sector.