ABUJA – NON teaching staff in the universities have said that their members will not resume work today pending when the Federal Government will pay them their Earned Allowances totalling over N66 billion.
But the Federal Government has promised to mop up money for the non teaching staff comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions, NASU, and National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, alleging that the N23 billion released to the four university based unions was hijacked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
Meanwhile, there appears to be internal wrangling and suspicion between the non teaching staff under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, and ASUU, as it was gathered that the two groups are working at different directions over Earned Allowances. Recall that as a result of the strike embarked upon by the four university based unions over the non implementation of agreements entered into with the Federal Government especially on Earned Allowances, ASUU which had the upper hand in the Committee set up by the government went home with about N18 billion, leaving the balance of about N4 billion to the three unions. As institutions in the country are expected to resume academic activities today, the JAC of universities non teaching staff has said that there will be no work for members until the Federal Government implement its own part of bargain in the terms of settlement reached recently. Speaking to Vanguard on telephone, the Chairman of JAC, and National President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke said that there was no going back on the strike till the Federal Government honours the terms of settlement entered into with the JAC. Comrade Ugwoke said, “The situation is that JAC is not resuming work at all, no work for tomorrow (today). As far as JAC is concerned, the strike continues and any university that is putting up programme is wasting its time because we are going to tighten up situation. “JAC has already ruled that there will be no going back until government does what is needful and government knows that.” On whether the Federal Government has made any effort to negotiate with the affected three unions, Ugwoke said, “We are expecting the Federal Government to call for a meeting but NAC of SSANU is holding an emergency meeting by Tuesday somewhere in the country and we are surely going to take further steps to ensure strict compliance to total and comprehensive strike. “JAC is also to meet anytime from now to ensure compliance. So, there is concession at all.” He explained that there was a meeting between the JAC and Federal Government representatives on 19th December 2017 and that the representatives of government expressed regrets in what happened especially the sharing formula of the N23 billion in which the three non teaching unions were given a paltry sum of about N4 billion, while the rest went to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. He said, “According to them, ASUU hijacked the activities of the so-called Committee they set up because we accused them that there was no Committee rather they handed over money to ASUU to share but they denied it. “One of them said he was not in the country when the money was released because of that, ASUU hijacked everything and shared. “I said it could not have been because there were letter that empowered the ASUU to do that. So, if these letters were not issued out, it wouldn’t have happened. “However, they said they were mopping up money to give us our own money. We have presented over N66 billion being the cumulative of the three unions Earned Allowances from 2009 to 2012 for payment and for their conciliation. So, whenever they mop up money according to them, they will call us.” An executive member of one of the striking non teaching unions told Vanguard that because of betrayal from one of the unions in the universities, whatever promises the government has made to JAC will be kept secret. He said, “In this case, don’t forget that we have other stakeholders like …who don’t want us to get anything from government. That’s why its not in our interest to make information on our discussions public.”