CEM REPORT | The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has revealed that it lost more than 300 of its members to depression, among other health challenges during the five-month prolonged strike that was just suspended.
SSANU President, Muhammed Ibrahim, disclosed this while speaking on PREMIUM TIMES’ weekly Twitter Spaces on Wednesday.
He also called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) to suspend their prolonged strike and give the government a window to meet its demands while noting that two months suspension of the strike was to give room for the government to implement the agreements reached with the unions.
“At the last meeting we had on the 19th, we got a report from the different branches. SSANU has lost close to 300 members of staff who have died out of depression and lack of money to buy their drugs. And we will not continue to say that we will continue to remain outside this job now that we have got an offer and continue to have our members die out of frustration.
“We are calling on our colleagues in ASUU and NAAT to reconsider their position and join us to suspend the strike and give the government the benefit of doubt now that offers have been made.”
On the issue of the government’s threat of ‘No Work No Pay,’ the SSANU President expressed optimism that the government will pay the striking members when they suspend the strike.
“This is not the first time the government will say they will not pay and they will come and pay. I can remind you of the case of the doctors that went on strike, the government stopped their salary and eventually when they resumed they were paid,” he said.
“I want to assure our Members that definitely, the government will pay this money. But when they will pay, I will not be able to say. But two wrongs don’t make a right. You will not say because they have not paid the salaries, that because they have not acceded to some of your demands, you will continue to stay aloof and continue to allow Nigerian youths to suffer.”
Mr Ibrahim said with his union’s suspension of the strike, university staff will start the preparation of payroll to be sent to the government for payment.
He also noted that strikes are a legal and recognised method of protest used by labour unions to press home their demands.
“I want everybody to know that the salaries that have been denied us were not prepared. Salaries are prepared in each university and that university payroll and sent to Abuja, and IPPIS for payment.
“Since the unions’ downed tools, payrolls have not been prepared and you should not expect that the government will just use its fiat to ask IPPIS to just deploy money into people’s accounts based on the last payment made in February.”
Meanwhile, the National President of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Ibeji Nwokoma, said NAAT is yet to suspend its strike because its members from different chapters have not given the national leadership the go-ahead to do so.
He added that the national executive council of his union would meet physically on Thursday to receive reports from various chapters on the outcome of their referendum on whether to suspend the strike or not.
“Ours is a democratic union and no secession is made without the backing of the members nationwide. We held the first virtual meeting shortly after the meeting with the minister of education.
“At the virtual meeting, we asked the branch leaderships to conduct congresses to review the offer from the government. So when we meet tomorrow, the decision would be taken whether to suspend the strike or not.”
Recall that ASUU had insisted that it is not suspending its ongoing strike until the government meets all its demands, especially on payment of its salary arrears for the last six months that it had been on strike.
However, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) have suspended their strike for two months on the agreement that the federal government would pay it earned allowances of 50 billion and to fast track e adoption of it payment system amongst other agreements.