Members of the non-teaching staff unions in public universities made good their resolve to commence a nationwide industrial action on Monday when they crippled the activities in the nation’s universities, disrupted administrative activities and the on-going admission exercise for the 2017/2018 academic session.
It would be recalled that members of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) in federal and state universities began an indefinite industrial action to protest the sharing formula of N23 billion released by the Federal Government for earned allowances to all categories of staff in the Nigerian university system (NUS).
At the University of Lagos, members of the three unions, after a joint congress, staged a protest march on campus, rejecting the allocation of N23.2 million out of N958 million received by the institution.
Immediately after the joint congress, the union leaders and members stormed the library, Senate building, bursary and service area to chase out members found in the offices.
There was also commotion at the UNILAG’s Multipurpose Hall as the striking staff unions stormed and disrupted the on-going screening exercise for candidates admitted on the merit list.
As the fresh students and their parents were being caught unawares, the unions politely instructed the candidates and their parents to go home, saying the screening will not continue because of the strike, just as members of the unions handling the admission screening exercise ran out of the hall in different directions.
At the service area, which supplies water and light, the protesting SSANU, NAAT and NASU members switched off electricity supply and water to the entire campus.
Chairmen of the UNILAG chapter of SSANU, NAAT and NASU UNILAG, Messrs Olugbenga Adenaya, Kehinde Ajibade and Suleiman Lawal, respectively, marched their members to the main gate in protest, condemning the sharing formula adopted by the Federal Government.
Adenaya frowned at the lopsided allocation of N22 million out of N958 million to the three non-academic unions in the institution by the Federal Government, saying the strike would continue until the government addresses the injustice.
He disclosed that the strike is neither against the university management nor the academic staff; on the contrary it is a fight against injustice, and demanded an explanation from the government on why the N23 billion sharing formula was skewed against them.
Two national officers of SSANU and NASU told INDEPENDENT that the cash offices of universities were shut to prevent members from processing and paying EAA to academic staff.
According to them, the cash office will remain under lock and key, and that members would not work even if directed by the vice chancellors, registrars or bursar to process the payment for ASUU.
National Public Relations Officer of SSANU, Abdussobur Salaam, told newsmen that reports from University of Calabar, Federal University of Technology Akure, University of Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, University of Jos, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, University of Ibadan and University of Port Harcourt indicated that members complied with the Joint Action Committee (JAC) directive.
“It took effect nationwide and we have recorded over 90 percent compliance in almost all the branches,” Salaam told newsmen via SMS.
He directed members handling the admission exercise in all varsities to join the strike, as the leaders of unions have the power to stop the process.
SSANU’s Vice President (West), Alfred Jimoh and OAU chairman of the Union, Ademola Oketunde, confirmed that members complied with JAC directive.
Jimoh, however, revealed that UI admission screening exercise was postponed in anticipation of the indefinite strike.