From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), University of Ibadan, said on Friday that the two bodies recorded 98 per cent compliance on the first day of the nationwide strike called by the national body of JAC.

The level of compliance was jointly confirmed by the SSANU chairman in the institution, Mr. Wale Akinremi, who doubles as the JAC chairman, as well as the NASU Chairman, Mr. Malachy Etim, after a congress held in the university on Friday.

Speaking with journalists after the congress, Akinremi, said: “There is no time we would go on strike in UI that we would record less than 98 per cent compliance. We cannot boast absolutely that we have 100 per cent compliance because we cannot absolutely say we would lock the whole of the university. For example, our members in the security unit would work. The essence of the strike is not to destroy the university, but to press home our demands.”

He stated that the “resolution from the JAC of NASU and SSANU, University of Ibadan is for us to convey to our national body that industrial action that we have commenced today (Friday) to press home our demands must not be called off or suspended unless and until the Federal Government is able to meet with our demands, not verbally and not only in written document, but very tangibly.

“It is going to be a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike because it is not by our making. We did everything possible to ensure that the Federal Government averted the strike. What we have observed is that the Federal Government is dodging all sorts of things to treat us as less human in the university setting because of the fact that we don’t like going on strike.

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“The Federal Government would promise us money, and the money is what they are owing us, and they would not give us. For example, they have treated a group up till 2019, and they are still unable to clear our arrears since 2011. The public would need to listen to us, hear us, and know that we did not just woke up one day and say we are going on strike. So, anything that pertains to us, we are not going to allow it to work, until the FG meets our demands. No matter how long it takes, we want to engage the FG once and for all. We want to solve this so that we would not be going on strike forthnightly again.

In the same vein, the NASU chairman, UI, Malachy Etim, noted that the government might come up with the policy of ‘No work, no pay.’ He said: “We are not afraid of that. One thing is sure that there will be a time when we will also say ‘No pay, no work.’

“What pissed us off is that the FG released some Earned Allowances that the government signed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with us on November 20, 2019. For the non-teaching staff, the government agreed to release N30billion to them. Up time today, we have not seen that money.

“Then, the FG came out to say it has given N40billion to the university system, and that N10billion belongs to three unions, while N30 billion will belong to one union. So, it appears to us that the FG is trying to create problems in the university system by using divide and rule. We are not going to give them that opportunity.

“We are not quarrelling with any union. But what we are saying is that you have given them their own, give us our own. It will interest you to know that ASUU had collected their rights till 2016 and this one will take them to 2020, while we are on 2011. Even in 2011, it was only one allowance, which is hazards allowance. Other allowances have not been paid.”