University Workers’ Protests Bring UI, ABU, FUTO, Other Campuses To Standstill

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University workers in Nigeria, comprising members of the SSANU and NASU, took to the streets on Tuesday, protesting across public university campuses to demand the immediate release of their withheld salaries.

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KOKO TV NG while monitoring the protest reports that academic activities in the public universities have been paralysed occasioned by the protest which is still ongoing.

Brandishing placards with messages such as “Pay Us Our Withheld Salaries Now” and “Implement Our Outstanding Demands”, the protesters marched through the campuses, calling on the Nigerian government to address their grievances and meet their demands.

At the University of Ibadan, the protest caused traffic congestion on Oyo Road and around the school. The protesters had earlier gathered at the university main gate, where they set off the protest.

At the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State, placard-carrying non-academic staff members were seen protesting, demanding for the Federal government to pay the withhold salaries and implement other demands.

At the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), in Imo State, the protesting University workers who marched around the university community expressed their displeasure on how the government was treating their plight.

SSANU and NASU members at the Universities of Ilorin in Kwara State also joined the protest. They called on the political leaders to reduce governance costs and cut down their opulence lifestyles to meet their financial demands.

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The leaders of the two bodies and their members after a congress held a rally across the university campus. They wondered why the Federal Government could not meet their demands since 2009.

To avoid a total breakdown of university education across the country, the leaders of the two bodies called on the government to hasten action in the implementation of their demands.

It was gathered that the situation was not different at the University of Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and some of the other public universities across the country.

NASU National President Makolo Hassan reiterated on Monday that the planned protests on Tuesday would go ahead as scheduled, as the Federal Government had failed to address their demands despite their previous warning strike.

The protests followed the expiration of a two-week ultimatum issued by NASU and SSANU in June.

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Earlier in March, the unions embarked on a one-week warning strike to protest the eight months of withheld salaries by the Federal Government, which resulted in the closure of hostels and university gates, and disruption of electricity supply.

The unions criticised the government for paying withheld salaries to ASUU while neglecting non-academic staff, despite their joint eight-month strike in 2022.

While the government released four months’ withheld salaries to ASUU members in October, SSANU and NASU accused the government of unfair treatment and discrimination by not extending the same payment to non-academic staff.

In April, Education Minister Tahir Mamman attributed the non-payment of SSANU and NASU members’ salaries to a “communication problem”, denying any discrimination.

He promised that non-academic staff would receive half of their withheld salaries once approved by the President.

However, three months after the minister’s assurance, SSANU and NASU members claimed they had yet to receive any payment, contradicting Mamman’s promise.

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