Stories by Moses John
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), has demanded for more funding of the education sector, describing the 7.04 percent allocation of the 2018 budget to the education sector as not good enough.
They also described as unacceptable that President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has departed from the culture of giving priority to capital projects at the expense of developing the nation’s manpower.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council meeting, SSANU applauded President Buhari for its efforts at ensuring quick passage of the 2018 budget, even as they condemned government for disobeying court orders.
The communiqué signed by the National President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke and the National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Salaam Abdussobur, expressed worries over government’s delay in implementing the court judgement on University Staff schools.
“NEC in session commended the President Buhari-led Government for its effort in ensuring the early passage of the 2018 Budget. NEC noted that this move would improve the budgetary and planning processes of the country.
“SSANU however notes with great disappointment, the meagre allocation of 7.04 % allotted to the education sector. SSANU observes painfully, that the Buhari administration has not departed from the misplaced culture of giving priority to capital projects at the expense of developing its manpower.
“If the Nigeria of today is to bequeath a legacy of development for tomorrow, government needs to get its priorities right by ensuring education receives larger allocations. NEC expresses its disenchantment with the budget allocation to education and advises that it is not too late for reviews to be made.”
“It is worthy of note that the Earned Allowances which Government promised to implement which was one of the basis for suspending the nationwide JAC strike in September 2017 is still pending.
“NEC urges the federal government to expedite action on the payment of Earned Allowances as the ultimatum period of October 2017 signed in the Memorandum of Understanding has elapsed. This is necessary to forestall the possibility of resumption of another nationwide strike on the same matter.
“SSANU shall not be held liable if at the end of the day, the Memorandum of Understanding is breached by the Government and the Union is forced to resume its suspended strike to press home its demands,” it further added.
The non teaching staff union of universities expressed dissatisfaction over the alleged continued defiance of government to the judgment of the National Industrial Court which unequivocally pronounced that University Staff Schools are integral part of the University System.
It said, “NEC is dismayed and condemns in strong terms the prolonged delay in producing the necessary circular specifically directing University administrations to include the staff in the University Staff Schools in the personnel payroll systems of Universities…
“NEC views this as a departure from the promise of the present Government to respect the rule of law. While urging the Federal Government to immediately restore the status of the Staff Schools as declared by the Court, NEC commends University administrations who have gone ahead to implement the National Industrial Court judgment without delay, giving respite to our long suffering members in the Staff Schools.”
On the issue of no work, no pay policy which the Minister of Labour ,Dr. Chris Ngige, recently threatened to invoke on striking workers, the communiqué said, “NEC in session frowns” at the development.
It said ,“NEC in session further advises the Minister that, rather than threatening workers and taking a belligerent posture, he should ensure that the Nigerian labour environment is more worker-friendly and agreements entered with trade unions, which could precipitate strikes, are respected and honoured.”
On the purported proscription of labour unions by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, SSANU expressed disappointment that the governor’s action was because the leaders of those unions reminded him of his failure to pay workers salaries after collecting bailout funds, monthly allocations from the Federation Allocation Committee and internally generated funds from the state.
They emphasised that registration and deregistration of Trade Unions fall squarely under the Exclusive list in the 1999 Constitution and Trade Union Act 2005 (as amended) and not within the purview of any state governor.
“Nigeria is a signatory to international laws and conventions, including the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights where Trade Unions cannot be proscribed at the whim and caprices of politicians.