The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has decried the alleged inaction of the federal government on the nationwide strike of non-teaching staff of universities.
The Non-Academic Staff Union, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and National Association of Academic Technologists, cooperating under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee, JAC, have been on strike since the beginning of December.
This was after the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, failed to resolve their grievances over the sharing ratio of N23 billion released by the federal government to the universities as academic earned allowances.
The JAC had written Mr. Adamu a week before they embarked on the strike on December 4, warning of industrial action over the 89:11 ratio for sharing the allowances in favour of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
But the minister only acknowledged their letter and called them for a meeting mid-December, after the strike had begun.
In a statement by its president, Saheed Ashafa, on Thursday, the MSSN accused government of not paying attention to the striking workers.
“The presidency is not giving priority to the strike action and it is sending a bad perception about this administration,” said the MSSN.
“In the first place, the strike is avoidable and needless. It is unpalatable to the hearing that a country like Nigeria still pays low attention to workers’ welfare.
“The poor attention and undue silence of the Federal Government over the ongoing strike embarked upon by members of NASU, SSANU and NAAT are condemnable and highly demoralizing.
“It is understandable that children of majority of those leading the education agencies and ministries that should engage the striking workers are studying abroad, but that should not mean that the sons and daughters of the Nigerian masses should be made to suffer for developing interest in education”
“As we speak, some of our universities smell and stink, others have their libraries, health centres, powerhouses and other strategic facilities shut down. Students now live on university campuses like they are in the jungle.
“This is pathetic and must be urgently addressed. We will not get the best from our workers if we continue to treat them like slaves; their commitment to work will be vacuous. Apart from having meetings with the striking workers, the generality of Nigerians deserves to know what the plans of the FG are in resolving this crisis and preventing subsequent ones.”
The MSSN, however, appealed to the workers to consider the plight of the students caught in the industrial dispute.
“It appears that the workers are fighting for their rights, but they should always remember that the students affected are their children. We plead with them not to allow the agitation for their rights to affect the whole essence of education in the country.”
The strike has led to disruption of vital services, such as library, laboratory, healthcare, water and electricity supplies, normally provided by the JAC members in Nigerian universities.
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