There are strong indications that academic activities at the University of Ibadan may be truncated very soon as a result of a looming strike by members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).
This impending strike will not only affect the University of Ibadan, it would be affecting universities across the country.
ThisDay this morning reported that the union has already issued an ultimatum, which expires on April 28, 2015. The union, rising from a recent meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) accused the government of adopting an indifferent attitude towards implementation of the 2009 FGN/University based Unions’ Agreements, which is already due for re-negotiation.
“SSANU is worried that in spite of its persistent calls on government and IMC for the full implementation and payment of the arrears of the Earned Allowances, Government is yet to heed the calls. SSANU is further worried by the various political statements being made in the media by government functionaries in respect of this earned allowances, which in effect has been putting great pressures on the leadership of the Union, both at national and branch levels,” its communique read.
It lamented that political activities including the elections have taken the attention of the government away from addressing its grievances. It noted that several components of the agreements have not been implemented, a development capable of truncating the currently existing industrial peace in the university system.
Other grievances of SSANU include the issuance of a controversial circular by the National Universities Commission (NUC), which it said unilaterally expunges the part of the 2009 agreement on university demonstration staff schools.
It accused NUC of taking the decision in collaboration with ‘certain selfish vice-chancellors’ to stop universities from funding staff and demonstration schools, contrary to the agreement signed with the government.
“SSANU-NEC-in-session hereby demands the immediate withdrawal of the obnoxious circular. For the avoidance of doubt, if by April 28, 2015 the circular has not been withdrawn by NUC, the union will take labour action against the federal government. SSANU-NEC-in-session frowns at the overbearing attitude and unnecessary roles of the National Universities Commission (NUC) in this regard. SSANU warns the NUC to stop its undue meddling and interference in the affairs of the universities, so as not to overheat the Nigerian university system,” the communique added.
The National President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke speaking with THISDAY queried the rationale behind NUC’s circular that the demonstration and staff schools be removed from the central budget of universities, and be regarded as private schools.
“We see this as an affront and a complete violation of FG/NASU/SSANU agreement because that is what we signed. It is unfortunate that a person of Okojie’s standing, a Professor, would issue such circular, that staff schools school be regarded as private schools. He is just trying to destabilise the system. Command primary and secondary schools are funded by the federal government, so why should ours be different?” Ugwoke said.
Ugwoke also disclosed that the union is demanding its arrears of its earned allowances from June 2009 to June 2012 amounting to N62 billion.
The union had earlier expressed concern that utterances of government officials over the payment of the earned allowances has threaten the harmony between the leadership and its members.
Despite the ultimatum, Ugwoke noted that there is yet to be any invitation from the government, this he said does not affect the ultimatum.
“There has been no invitation of the union by the government but our date remains sacroscant, because our issues are germane. We will summon an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the outcome would not be palatable to government,“ he said.