The Western Zonal Executive Council of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, yesterday, came hard on the Federal Government over the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, strike, describing it as a parasitic, opportunist and selfish group whose interests are only in what favors them and not the interests of the people on whose mandates they claim to hold offices.
It also accused the government of being dishonest, insensitive and wicked, saying Nigerians have found themselves in a sorry and unfortunate state because of the insensitivity and wickedness of those who purport to lead the country.
Addressing newsmen in Ibadan, the National Vice-President and Secretary of the association, Comrades Abdussobur Olayiwola Salaam and Saheed Adewale Oseni, respectively, said the government’s action, especially in respect of the educational system, particulaly the universities, had revealed its true colors.
“If not so, how would all the four university based unions embark on different strikes over similar and dissimilar issues and our rulers would sit pretty, sipping tea in their air-conditioned offices, totally unconcerned about the agitations in our ivory towers? Their total disconnectedness is what led, NASU and SSANU to embark on a two week warning strike with no acknowledgement or response from government.
“Believing that the two weeks warning was not sufficient for our agitations to be paid attention to, it was extended by another two weeks and now a month and yet, no acknowledgement or indication of awareness that anything is amiss? What an insensitive and wicked government.
“This strike has antecedents dating as far as FGN/NASU 2009 agreements. Following the 2009 agreements, agitations by the two unions had led to various Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with Government. Within the last five years, no less than four different collective bargaining agreements have been signed with the government. These include the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed on 20th October, 2020 and the memorandum of action signed on Thursday 20th February, where government gave commitment and pledged resolution of the various issues affecting our universities and inter-university centres.
“The failure of government to keep up with its commitment and uphold its pledges in the collective argaining agreements it freely entered into, is what has led to this industrial action. The government, by its actions or inactions, despite the various agreements had only shown that it operates only on deceit, lies and subterfuge and cannot be trusted with agreements signed between it and its citizens. What a dishonest Government.” The association lamented.
SSANU said it was in solidarity with the national leadership leaving our job to embark on a strike is not a pleasurable experience for us especially now that our salaries have been stopped. But when we are dealing with deaf and dump, we must find all means of drawing attention to our plight.
“Unfortunately, if Boko Haram means that education is forbidden, there is no group that depicts the forbidding of education more than the political class in Nigeria. For over six months, we gave notice of strike, repeated letters and reminders were communicated without any acknowledgement.
“We embarked on a two-week warning strike, no response. We extended by two weeks, yet no response either from the employer Ministry of Education or from the conciliators office at the Ministry of Labour. Nothing can be as sad and unfortunate.
“We are, however, not relenting as our national body has directed a one month extension. We stand totally by them and remain unshaken in the face of attacks, intimidation and blackmail. For us, this is a strike we entered into with the justification and we shall remain undeterred till it reaches a logical conclusion.”