It is starting to dawn on students and parents what they stand to suffer as the strike embarked upon by 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) is affecting daily activities in school.
Many stakeholders believe that the only industrial action that attracts urgent attention of the government is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). They have forgotten that ASUU, NASU, SANU and NAAT work in cycle to keep both academic and non- academic activities alive on campus.
The absence of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) members from work has paralysed the educational system, and the students are at the receiving end of all these. For example it was reported that at Bayero University, Kano states that the students were not given accommodation because the hall admins claim they are on strike.
It was also reported that a student of FUTA died, due to the absence of the medical team of the institution. Also the students of OAU had to read for their exams without electricity.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), of the workers’ unions in an interview recently said, “We were asked to suspend our strike, we told them we had to consult our principals, which are the NEC of the various unions and whatever they tell us, and we will get back to the federal government. But as I speak to you, the strike continues.”
Adamu Adamu the Minister of Education said the ministry was waiting for a response from the federal government for the allocation of funds towards salaries and other expenditures.
Although the minister acknowledged there was a mistake in the sharing of the N23 billion released by the government for earned allowances to teaching and the non-teaching staff. The Unions have refused to resume work until they are duly paid their salaries.
We can’t blame them, but the students need to be considered. No work, no pay and the “no pay no work”. The fight is between the Government and the Unions, should the students suffer for it?
The Unions are right to fight for what is their right. However, the students are on the receiving end as it always the case in such struggles. The buck always ends at the door of the government. As they admitted in this case, urgent steps should be taken to correct this abnormally. It is not the time for the government to be slow to act, the future of our future of our future leaders depends on it.