By Tope Fayehun, Akure
Commercial activities were paralysed for many hours in the major street of Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday , following protest embarked upon by university staff union under the auspices the Joint Action Committee (JAC).
The members of the (JAC) including, three non -teaching staff union of universities, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities(SSANU),Non-Academic Staff of Nigeria (NASU) and National Association of Academics Technologists (NAAT), trooped to the street, to protest the refusal of the Federal Government to invite them to dialogue with them over the on going strike embarked upon by the unions.
The protesters which were led by the SSANU National Vice President, Comrade Alfred Jimoh, were also armed with placards with various inscriptions such as :”No to divide and rule in the Nigerian University system”, SSANU, NASU and NAAT says no to encroachment of non teaching staff jobs in the universities. Teachers should teach and research “,among others.
Addressing journalists during the protest, Comrade Alfred Jimoh blamed the government for pushing the union into the avoidable strike in spite of the show of understanding and reluctance to embark on the strike.
Jimoh said, government must ,as a matter of urgency, release more funds to take care of the Arrears of Earned Allowance of the three Non-Teaching staff of the Nigerian universities and to commence the immediate implementation of the allowance to forestall further accumulation of the arrears.
The union leader also called on the government to release another N30 billion to be added to the N4.6billion shared to the three Non – teaching staff and commence implementation of the monthly payment of the allowances.
According to him ,”we are not unmindful of the effect of our strikes on the parents and our students, but we regret that, we have no option other than to embark on the strike as the last option since all our efforts to engage government were ignored and only the union that is prone to strike is the one government would always want favour “.
His words: “We embark on the strike because of the failure to respond to our letters and do the needful as per our request for equitable distribution of the N23billion Earned Allowance and the generally non-performance of the Memorandum of our Terms of Settlement.
” One cannot but wonder why we cannot do things right and in the proper wayside once in this country. For filthy lucre and a pot of porridge, many Nigerians irrespective of their status and academic qualifications are ready to do anything no matter how satanic and injurious it could very their fellow human being.”
The union, however, appealed to well meaning Nigerians to consider their plight and proposals with a view to calling on the government to accepting it.
“This will strengthening the hands of the leadership of the three Non teaching staff unions, to direct their members to call off the strike in the shortest possible time”, the union stated.