Nigerian University Unions Threaten Total Shutdown Over Unmet Demands

by David Okoye
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The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) have issued a stern ultimatum to the Federal Government, threatening to shut down universities across the country within seven days if their demands are not met. SSANU President, Mohammed Ibrahim, conveyed this message during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, highlighting the critical role non-teaching staff play in university operations.

Both unions have given the government a seven-day deadline, beginning from Monday, to address their grievances, failing which they will initiate mass action. Ibrahim emphasized that without the non-teaching staff, including those responsible for security, administration, medical services, and facility maintenance, universities cannot function effectively.

Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities SSANU 687x400 1

The unions’ grievances stem from the government’s failure to fulfill agreements reached in 2022 following a previous strike. Despite assurances from the government that non-teaching staff would not suffer repercussions for participating in strikes, SSANU alleges that salaries were withheld and only reinstated for Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) members. This discrepancy has exacerbated tensions and dissatisfaction among non-teaching staff.

Ibrahim highlighted the adverse impact of the current economic challenges on university staff, particularly those who commute long distances to work. He lamented the lack of access to fuel, scarcity of food, and inadequate medical services, underscoring the dire situation faced by university employees.

The threat of a shutdown underscores the frustration and disillusionment felt by SSANU and NASU members, who believe they are undervalued and marginalized within the education system. Despite being integral to the smooth functioning of universities, they feel neglected and disregarded by the government.

As the deadline approaches, stakeholders are watching closely to see whether the government will address the unions’ concerns and avert a potential crisis in the nation’s higher education sector. Failure to do so could result in widespread disruption to academic activities, further exacerbating the challenges facing Nigerian universities.

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