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Monday, April 15, 2024

Nigerian university workers begin nationwide strike over withheld salaries

SSANU and NASU protest government's failure to release four months' wages, while education minister claims unawareness

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The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU) are set to launch a nationwide strike today (Monday) in protest against the prolonged withholding of their salaries for four months.

Muhammed Ibrahim, the National President of SSANU, confirmed that both unions were prepared to embark on the strike to demand the release of their outstanding wages.

However, despite the impending industrial action, the Minister for Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, claimed ignorance of SSANU/NASU’s planned strike. In response to inquiries, Mamman stated via text message, “I am not aware of any planned strike. But I know the matter is receiving attention at the highest level of government. I will get across to them.”

The Federal Government’s implementation of the no-work, no-pay policy led to the withholding of salaries for university workers following a prolonged strike in 2021. Although the government released four months’ withheld salaries to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in February, SSANU and NASU were excluded from the disbursement.

Expressing frustration over the disparity, Ibrahim reiterated the unions’ demand for the equitable release of their salaries. He highlighted the unions’ numerous communications with government officials, including Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Prof. Tahir Mamman, urging them to address the injustice.

Abdussobur Salaam, the SSANU National Vice President, lamented the lack of government engagement, stating that no offers or promises had been made since the commencement of the unions’ agitation.

With their concerns unaddressed and patience worn thin, SSANU and NASU have resolved to initiate a seven-day warning strike, effective Monday, March 18, 2024. The unions emphasize the urgent need for the government to rectify the situation to prevent further disruptions in the university sector.

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