The hope of Nigerian students returning to their classrooms any time soon, is at the verge of being dashed, as university workers under the aegis of National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, have threatened to ground activities on campuses to protest alleged disparity in the allocation of the N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance to be released by the Federal Government.
The union today gave the government 14 day strike notice to address the issue or risk another round of strike in public universities.
NAAT and two other university based unions, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU are protesting the alleged allocation of 75 percent to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and 25 per cent to them from the N40bn allowance.
The university workers are also demanding that the government release 50 per cent of the N71 billion accrued allowance being owed members of the union from the 2009 agreement reached between government and the union.
President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim said “My members and by extension all other category of staff in Nigerian Tertiary institutions are disappointed and disenchanted by this singular act of government’s refusal to honor it’s promise to pay the arrears of the New National Minimum Wage that was approved by the government since April, 2020.”
NAAT President, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma told journalists in Abuja that the union has written to the Minister of Labour and Employment informing him of their planned industrial action.
He said “NAAT as a body ought to have been given a specified percentage of the N40bn. You can’t just say ASUU 75 percent and others 25 per cent. Let us know the specific percentage you are giving to NAAT as a union. In the MoU we entered with government on November 18, we demanded that in sharing of the N40bn released; that government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each Union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC and Federal Ministry of Education will work it out in conjunction with the union. And what they have done negates completely the spirit of that MoU.”
The union leader warned that “anybody who thinks that ASUU has called of strike and that schools will reopen, then let the person dare us. Let us know how effective or how possible it is for schools to reopen when Technologists are on strike.”