The leadership of the non academic staff of Nigerian universities has directed their members to embark on an indefinite strike as from Monday December 4, 2017.
The non academic staff of universities comprise of members of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Association of Technicians, NAAT.
A letter from the Joint Action Committee, JAC, to the chairmen of NAAT, SSANU and NASU, dated November 27, 2017, said the strike is going to be total and comprehensive.
The letter captioned, “Directive to immediately resume the suspended strike”, was signed by NAAT President, Engineer Sani Suleiman, NASU President, Comrade Chris Ani, and SSANU President, Comrade Samson C. Ugwoke.
The letter reads:
“Please recall our last correspondence to you in which we informed you of the letter written to the Hon. Minister of Education rejecting the allocation made by the office of the Permanent Secretary and signed by the PS himself. In the said letter, the Federal Government was given seven days to explain the criteria for the allocation and do the needful. The deadline has elapsed without any response from the FGN.
“In view of the above therefore, you are hereby directed to resume the suspended indefinite strike action as from 12 midnight, Sunday 3rd December, 2017. During the period, the strike shall be total and comprehensive.
“Further to this, all our branches are to convene a congress meeting of JAC by 8am on Monday 4th December, 2017 to commence the strike immediately.
“Aluta continua, Victoria ascerta”.
However, prior to the declaration of the strike, the non academic staff of University of Ibadan, UI, have embarked on a week-long violent protest where members of the academic staff were assaulted in various forms. The assault on staff has led to the hospitalisation of some members of the premier university.
It was gathered that the protesting staff mercilessly flogged some academic staff which did not exclude professors.
According to sources, some of them stormed the University College Hospital, UCH, and beat some professors who were teaching medical students out of classes. They also chased lecturers and students out of classrooms.
They also halted commercial transport activities as they did not allow commercial taxi drivers and commercial motorcyclists to carry passengers and the commercial transporters who attempted to carry passengers were thoroughly beaten.
Also, it was gathered that the institution’s Librarian was maltreated as she was forced out of her car, her handbag was thrown away, spilling all the contents on the ground. One of the non academic staff was heard boasting, “We dealt with the bastard. On this spot, we brought the woman down and when she identified herself as the school librarian, we ignored her and gave her a treat. Here in our presence, the woman was crying and we did not look at her face. All of them, we will deal with them”.
Another staff said, “We are the one that is doing everything and they are the one getting the money. What do they do? They only teach and mark and we, we are doing a lot and still, they will not treat us fine. There was a time I wanted to staple a document and a pin pinched my hand. Is that not pain? Am I not entitled to earn allowance with that accident? The academic people are so greedy. Why cannot they give us part of the money that the Federal Government has just given to them? We will not work until Federal Government give us money too. If we do not work, we will see who will prepare their salaries for November and if salaries are not paid, all of us will have dark Christmas”.
Meanwhile, some lecturers have called on the Federal Government and necessary authorities to give a directive preventing the non academic staff from harassing and beating them when they go on strike. Some of them claim that their lives are being threatened by the non academic staff.
A lecturer said, “What right do they have to drive students out of their classrooms? I pray that a day will not come that the students will attempt to resist them. This might lead to loss of lives. Before getting to this stage, I think the government should do something”.
Reacting to the protest, the UI management appealed for calm and urged all members of staff to reduce provocative utterances.
In a meeting held yesterday in the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, DVC, Admin, which had in attendance DVC Academic, Registrar, University Librarian, Deputy CSO, leadership of JAC, NASU, SSANU and NAAT, the management appealed to JAC members to leave the entrance gates opened as they withhold their services.
The management further appealed to the aggrieved staff to stop harassing members of ASUU.