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Nigerian University Unions Threaten Shutdown Over Unmet Demands

by Vicky Oselumese
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Nigerian University Unions Threaten Shutdown Over Unmet Demands

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government, threatening to shut down higher institutions in the country if their demands are not met.

In an interview with ChannelsTV, SSANU president Mohammed Ibrahim emphasized the crucial role that non-teaching staff play in the functioning of universities.

Ibrahim highlighted the various responsibilities handled by the unions, including security, administration, medical services, hostels, and electricity.

He stressed that without the non-teaching staff, no university in Nigeria can operate effectively. Expressing their reluctance to resort to strike action, Ibrahim explained that the unions feel compelled to push back against the government’s disregard for their concerns.

The grievances of SSANU and NASU stem from an agreement signed with the government in 2022, following a previous strike. According to Ibrahim, the agreement included provisions to ensure that no staff member would suffer for participating in the strike and that salaries would not be withheld.

However, the government failed to honor these commitments. While salaries for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were restored, non-teaching staff members continue to face salary withholding.

The unions argue that their treatment by the government reflects a lack of recognition for their essential contributions to the university system.

They stress the need for justice and fair treatment, particularly in light of the economic challenges faced by their members, such as difficulties accessing fuel and food.

If the government does not address their concerns within the specified timeframe, SSANU and NASU are prepared to embark on a strike, which would result in the closure of universities across the country.

It remains to be seen how the government will respond to the ultimatum and whether a resolution can be reached before the situation escalates further.

This article was updated 2 months ago

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