The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Monday, warned that except the Federal Government addresses the recent hike in fuel and electricity tariff, the non-teaching staff in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), would engage the government in a peaceful protest across the nation, with a view to forcing the government to rescind its decision.
The union, while reacting to the unfortunate increment, during a press conference at the SSANU secretariat, University of Ibadan, the National Vice President of SSANU, Mr. Alfred Jimoh, stated that, the union could not but comment on the recent issues of the ill-advised increment in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol and the electricity tariff.
According to SSANU, Nigerians that are just battling the agony of insecurity and COVID-19 without any visible and empirical succour or palliatives from the government, is now being visited with the double tragedy, adding that, it was a trite of reality that these two commodities are key to the economy and touch on the lives of every Nigerian.
He noted further: “Why would a government that claims to be responsive to the sufferings of its people chose a time like this to add more pains to their agony and trauma?”
“It is on record that this government rode to power through the popular mass protest against similar action taken by Jonathan administration in 2012. With this action, it does appear that the APC government is taken Nigerians for granted.”
“Be that as it may, and as you all know, the organised labour and the civil society collaborators are seriously mobilising to engage the government in a peaceful, nonviolent protest across the nation. SSANU is a member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and we are fully ready to carry out the directives of our centre (NLC) as soon as we receive the signal,” Jimoh disclosed.
While lamenting on the University of Lagos (UNILAG) saga, the union said that: “Different stakeholders in the crisis and within UNILAG (including SSANU and other unions) have submitted memoranda to the panel set by the Special Visitation Panel of Mr. President and Visitor to UNILAG.”
“The Senate of UNILAG (as expected) has also come out solidly in defense of Mr. Vice-Chancellor and descended heavily on the Pro-Chancellor and the Registrar, who are seen to be carrying out the mandate of the Visitor as exemplified in his (Mr. President) Anti-Corruption crusade.”
“In doing this, the Senate and its collaborators have unwittingly, and hiding under the technicality of due process, attempted to demonise Babalakin and his Council, while canonising itself as the technically ” all in all” and most supreme organ of the university over and above the Council.”
“Mush as we wish to remain neutral in the UNILAG matter as much as possible, SSANU and indeed Nigerians and the international communities of Anti-Corruption like Transparency International are keenly waiting to see how the matter would be decided in UNILAG.”
“We are anxious to see what shall become of Dr. Wale Babalakin, who appeared to have been placed on the slaughter’s slab going by the submission of the UNILAG Senate. The recommendations of this special panel and the pronouncement of the Villa on this matter, will go a long way to tell Nigerian populace about the direction and seriousness of Mr. President and APC government’s Anti-Corruption war,” he posited.
SSANU also frowned at the nonchalant attitude of the government to issues affecting non-teaching staff of Nigerian universities on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
The union noted that: “You will recall that, in our last briefing here, we lamented the unwarranted shoddy treatment we were receiving from IPPIS in respect of payment of our salaries and release of our third-party deductions, we wish to let Nigerians know that, consequent upon our outcry, IPPIS has started to release our third-party deductions albeit in piecemeal.”
“We wish to state here that, this seemingly positive development notwithstanding, we are not yet fully pleased with IPPIS and we wish to reiterate that, while the government is making efforts to test run the University
Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS) developed by ASUU, it should also accept and test run the University General Purpose Payment Platform (UG3P) developed by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of NASU and SSANU, with a view to incorporating them to address the peculiarity of the university system.”
“It is indeed very saddening that the Earned Allowances of our members which arose from the 2009 FGN/SSANU Agreement are still largely unattended to as government and its agents have often acted in respect of this issue in a way that suggests that for as long as the Earned Allowances of the Teaching staff are paid, even though if that of the Non-Teaching staff are not paid, there would be little or no problem.”
On reopening of schools, the union stated that it was not against the decision while urging the government to ensure that, all the needful are done in respect of the safety protocols and guidelines for the containment of COVID-19 in the country’s tertiary institutions, as well as addressing labour issues in the system.
This, the union said, was necessary, so as not to risk the lives of the staff and students of these educational institutions and at the same time, save the system from avoidable industrial disharmony.