THE ongoing strike action embarked upon by Non-Academic Staff of Federal Universities in Nigeria seven months ago is really taking the serious pain on the lives of Union Members (Staffs), students and their Parents, Nationwide.
In the case of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Awka, Anambra State.
It is yet to dawn on lecturers, students and parents what they stand to suffer as the strike embarked upon by the two unions, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non- Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT)enters its seven months.
Many critical stakeholders in the State believe that the only strike that attracts the urgent attention of the federal government is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), but forgetting that NASU, SSANU, ASSU and NAAT work in collaboration to keep both academic, non- academic and students activities alive on campuses.
Thus in the past seven months, academic activities have been placed on hold in many federal universities across the country.
This was just as the ongoing UTME screening and matriculation in many universities have been suspended or disrupt in one way or the other by the angry and unpaid teaching staffs indefinitely.
For example, owing to the industrial action, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University NAU was on Saturday 9, February 2018 threaten to suspend its Matriculation the, on grounds of management’s insensitivity to the plight of non-teaching staff of the university.
NAU’s authorities through it public relation officer, Dr.Emmanuel Ojukwu would speak to our correspondent in his office also admitted that it almost suspended academic activities due to disruption of normal academic and administrative activities by the on-going industrial action in the institution Ojukwu, said it was not right for the striking workers to disrupt the matriculation ceremony in the University He was of the opinion that government was on the verge of addressing their grievances and as such there was no reason whatsoever to foment trouble .
Ojukwu noted further that the non-teaching staff have not come to work since December last year yet they got their salaries regularly pointing out that the matriculation ceremony was an academic exercise and ASUU was not on strike.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune in this regards, at the school premises, the chairperson SSANU NAU branch and also the chairperson of the NAU Joint Action Committee of NAT, SSANU and NASU comrade Njideka Nwangwu said the management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University was not fair to non-academic staff alleging that the management has withheld their hazard allowance on the ground that they were not entitled to such money.
Nwangwu agreed that all the unions on campus work together, adding that one union’s services complement the other and that all the social amenities in the university are in the stage of moribund.
Nwangwu stated that the union was vehemently kicking against all forms of marginalisation meted out to non-teaching staff in Unizik.
She lamented that two of the union’s members have gone blind on account of the functions they perform in the office adding that the federal government has released their hazard allowance but accused the
university management of sitting on their hazard allowance.
Nwangwu who vowed that the ongoing strike that has paralysed academic and non- academic activities for seven months now, will continue indefinitely until the Federal Government accedes to their demands.
she said the unions proceeded on strike when it was clear that the Federal Government has refused to honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it willingly signed with them.
Trouble started when the non- teaching staff unions in the universities under the umbrella of Joint Action committee, JAC, had last year September rejected the sum of N4.6 billion given to them from the N23 billion the Federal Government recently released to the four unions in the universities.
The three unions under JAC comprising SSANU, NASU and NAAT, described the N4.6 billion allocated to them as pittance and directed all their members nationwide to resume strike immediately in protest.
As he described the development as a deliberate attempt to destabilize President Muhammadu Buhari administration.