#Education

Students appeal to FG as varsity workers threaten strike

By Emmanuel Oluwadola
& Roseline Okakah

|

Students in public universities in Nigeria have appealed to President Bola Tinubu to avert the shutting down of their schools by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU).

The appeal came as the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions threatened to disrupt industrial peace in universities should the government fail to release the withheld salaries of members seized by the previous administration.

The unions, in a joint letter signed by the President of SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim and General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, questioned the rationale with which the government released four months of withheld salaries to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities but failed to release the withheld salaries of non-academic staff.

The unions noted that they would no longer be able to assure the government of industrial peace in universities should the amounts owed by the government are not released.

In response to the looming strike, a student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Fajemibola Timilehin, said the strike will further elongate the period students should stay in school.

“Our calendar is going to be affected which is not good,” Timilehin pleaded with the associations not to embark on any strike because of its negative impacts on the students.

Echoing similar sentiments, another FUTA student, Ademikanra Adesola, expressed fear over the impact of the potential strike on the students in terms of disruption of academic activities and additional financial burden on parents amidst the prevailing economic challenges.

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Omogbemi Ojo Oluwamayowa of Adekunle Ajasin University said the news of the impending strike broke his heart because “as a final year student that has been in this school since 2019 and considering the time that has been wasted due to strike and other internal issues, I don’t want anything that will hinder me anymore.

“I will say that the government should step up and pay up those arrears in other to keep our education running and also the staff need to survive as it’s not longer a news how hard the country is to survive these days, the hike in everything and the falling of the country’s economy as well,” he said.

Another student of AAUA, Rasheed Aladejana lamented that the strike would deal a blow on the school academic calendar as well as cause additional financial burden for parents.

Aladejana called on the government to address the concerns of the university staff members or have a roundtable discussion with them to chart a positive way forward.

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