THE Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has linked the increased rate of kidnappings, banditry and armed robbery in the country to bad roads across the country.
SSANU National President, Mr Samson Ugwoke in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday.
He added that Nigerian roads have become death traps with attendant loss of lives on a daily basis.
Ugwoke, speaking at the 36th National Executive Council meeting in Benue, advised the Federal Government to blacklist companies that carry out substandard road projects.
According to him, “We have transversed the country and have seen the nature of the roads, we have also seen why it is easy to kidnap people on the highway, it is because of the bad roads that we have.
“If you check where we have the military and Police checkpoints and recently the Federal Road Safety Corps checkpoints, they are all at the bad portions of the roads, so you must slow down, when you slow down you are under arrest.
“So, we are appealing to the Federal Government that one of the ways they should address kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry is by fixing Nigeria highways. The government should fix Nigeria highways, the money is there even if it is by concession, they should do it.
“Government should also not give weak companies that are not able to do good jobs anymore work. Many of the roads are less than five years they were constructed but they have broken down.
“We should blacklist companies that do substandard jobs in Nigeria. We have good companies with good records. Let us use such companies to do good roads that can last in Nigeria.
“We have lost so many lives on the highway due to accidents. These casualties are avoidable because if the roads are fixed it could reduce accidents.”
The national president expressed concerns over the delay from Senate President Ahmed Lawan in meeting with members of the union, saying they were still waiting to deliberate on ways to address the challenges of the non-teaching staff unions.
Ugwoke recalled the Joint Action Committee (JAC) meeting of SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities on July 12 and commended the members for a successful protest that had attracted the attention of the government.
He said: “A situation where the money meant for the entire University Staff was carted away in a manner that shows that some of us are not supposed to be part of the University System.
“The Academic Staff Union took 80 per cent of the money, leaving a paltry 20 per cent to the non-teaching staff unions in the university.
“This you were aware we rejected, we called that meeting of 12th July at the Labour House and the resolutions reached were passed to the government.
“As you are aware, national protest commenced on Monday, 15th of July in all the campuses of universities in Nigeria. We have never gotten it right except this particular one. The protest was total, comprehensive and drew the attention of who is who in Nigeria.
“Your action got to the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives as matters of urgent importance, there were discussed.
“The Senate set up a committee to meet with the non-teaching staff to ensure that the non-teaching staff did not proceed on the planned industrial action. The House of Representatives did the same thing.
“Two days after, we received a letter from the President of the Senate inviting us for a meeting on Monday, July 22 in the chambers of the Senate President.
“JAC met prepared our agenda for the meeting but as we were still meeting, preparing our documents when we heard about the protest by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
“We thought we could breakthrough, we came out to the three arms zone, we were stopped by the Police, by then there was smoke everywhere, we could not proceed for the meeting with the senate.
“We wrote a letter because we are still in Abuja expecting to be called anytime day or night. A letter was written to the President of the Senate informing him of our inability to have access to the National Assembly due to the protest on that day in Abuja.
“That was acknowledged but we are standing by. Up till now, we are waiting. So we are hoping, expecting invitation any time and we must answer.”