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Four Months Withheld Salaries; SSANU, NASU Protest at Abuja University

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of non-teaching staff unions in universities appealed to President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday to intervene in the payment of their withheld four-month salaries.The non-teaching staff unions include the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).

SSANU and NASU Logo

JAC had previously mandated all branches to hold a one-day nationwide protest on July 7 to express their grievances over the withheld salaries and other pending issues.The protest, held at various university branches and inter-university centers, followed a meeting with the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, which ended in a stalemate.

Protesters carried placards with messages such as “Pay us our withheld four months’ salaries,” “Non-teaching staff are important stakeholders in universities,” and “We are crying, our children are dying; pay us our salaries.”

Speaking at the protest, Comrade Nurudeen Yusuf, Chairman of SSANU at the University of Abuja, explained that the protest aimed to draw government attention to issues concerning the welfare of university staff and education in general, particularly the withheld salaries.

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He criticized the non-payment as vexatious and provoking, noting that the same presidential directive was selectively implemented in favor of academic staff. “Our hope was renewed when President Bola Tinubu, during his campaign, assured Nigerians that there would be no more strikes in universities. In October 2023, he directed that four months of our withheld salaries be paid and that universities be excluded from IPPIS. Nine months later, where is the money?” he asked.

Yusuf described the situation as a selective implementation, quoting George Orwell: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” He warned that the protest marked the beginning of a series of actions that could culminate in a total shutdown of universities in Nigeria. He emphasized that the government’s repeated failure to honor agreements was eroding trust and questioned its commitment to providing quality education for the masses. He urged the Minister of Education to take necessary actions and called on the Minister of Labour and Employment to prevent industrial disharmony in universities.

Mr. Makolo Hassan, NASU Chairman, supported the action, attributing it to the government’s refusal to adhere to agreements. “This is just the beginning. Next Thursday, all our members will converge in Abuja for a national protest. We will meet, make decisions, and define the way forward,” he said.

Chidalu Glory

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