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Why We Are Shutting Down Nigerian Universities – SSANU Explains

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has maintained its stand to shut down universities nationwide if the federal government does not satisfy its demands within the next seven days.

Giving reasons for this harsh action, SSANU stated they did not want to embark on strike but had been pushed to the wall.

SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, made this remark while he was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics program, Naija News reports.

Ibrahim stressed that a 7-day deadline, starting today (Monday), has been set for the Federal Government. He also mentioned that if their concerns are not addressed by the end of the ultimatum, the union, in collaboration with the Non-academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU), will commence a full strike action.

Ibrahim said: “We are in charge of security, we are in charge of administration, we are in charge of medicals, we are in charge of hostels, we are in charge of electricity, we are in charge of everything apart from teaching. So, once our members down tools, no university can function in Nigeria.

It’s quite unfortunate. No union member wants to go on strike, but when you are pushed to the wall, what would you do? You have to push back.

You can see what is happening in the country. The economy is in dundrums and everybody is suffering. Most of our universities are located far outside the township and our members have to commute every day. Fuel cannot be accessed, food is scarce, our medicals can not be attended to, and members are suffering quite clearly.”

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Speaking about the union’s grievances, the SSANU President said, “It’s quite absurd that we have to speak like this and it is because we have been clearly shown that we do not matter in the system while we all know that there is no university that can function without the non-teaching staff.

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“We are populated by professionals, we oil the engine in the administration of every university and therefore treating a segment of staff with disdain does not speak well of the system.

In 2022, all the university-based unions were on strike – four of us. For us in NASU and SSANU, we went on strike on the 27th of March and we called it off on the 27th of August after the intervention of the then Minister of Education, Mal Adamu Adamu.

We had an agreement that we signed with the government to review the situation and ensure that justice is done.”

Ibrahim mentioned that the final provision of the agreement ensured that no individual would face repercussions for participating in the strike, and their salaries would not be withheld.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that in May, the government halted the salaries of all non-teaching staff, which were only reinstated in September of that year. He further stated that the government compensated only ASUU members for the withheld salaries.

“Today, as I speak to you, our colleagues in ASUU have been able to get theirs and no one is saying anything about NASU and SSANU,” Ibrahim noted, stressing, however, that if the issue was addressed within the seven days ultimatum given to the federal government, there would be no need for any industrial action.

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