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March 2, 2024

4 months withheld salaries: NASU, SSANU gives FG 7-day ultimatum

4 months withheld salaries: NASU, SSANU gives FG 7-day ultimatum

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, have given the federal government an ultimatum of seven days to pay them the four months withheld salaries or face the wrath of the unions.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had directed that workers in the public universities should be paid the withheld salaries that the previous administration refused to pay as a result of the prolonged strike they embarked upon in 2022.

While the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has complied with the President’s directive by paying the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, nothing has been said about the three non-teaching staff unions of NASU, SSANU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.

This development has generated some level of tension in the universities as the three unions have warned that they may not guarantee industrial harmony if the government fails to do the needful.

NASU and SSANU through its Joint Action Committee, JAC, have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government to pay them the four months withheld salaries.

The two unions in a statement at the weekend jointly signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi and the President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim warned that the unions should not be held responsible should the wheel of administration and corporate governance be grounded to a halt in the University sector if the government failed to comply with the ultimatum.

The statement titled: “Failure of the Federal Government to pay the four months outstanding salaries to NASU and SSANU members”, read:

“It is on record and you will also recall that the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non- Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) wrote protest letters to the Chief of Staff to the President and the Honourable Minister of Education on 13th February, 2024 (copies are here attached) over the exclusion of the Non-Teaching staff from the payment of outstanding 4 months salaries.

“We are therefore shocked that two weeks after the letters had been sent and received by the appropriate quarters, the Federal Government has remained quiet and refused to take any step towards addressing this very sensitive issue and it seems as if the Federal Government is taking our maturity for granted.

“We like to confirm through this medium once again to the Federal Government that the pressure on us has intensified and we have done everything possible within our ambit to prevail on our members to maintain industrial peace and tranquillity.

“While we appreciate the Federal Government for paying our Academic counterpart, we also deem it necessary that our members are also paid. The various feelers we are getting from our members in the Universities and Inter-University Centres indicate that we can no longer guarantee and be able to sustain industrial peace in the University sector.

“We therefore use this opportunity once again to call on the Federal Government to do the needful within the next 7 days as the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU should not be held responsible should the wheel of administration and corporate governance be grounded to a halt in the University sector, as we have exercised enough patience.

“If nothing is done by the Federal Government to positively address this situation and respond to our previous letters to them, the members of the two Unions may be forced to meet soon to take all lawful and stringent decision on the matter.”