Protest Rocks OAU, Other Universities As SSANU, NASU Demand Payment Of Withheld Salaries

Protest Rocks OAU, Other Universities As SSANU, NASU Demand Payment Of Withheld Salaries
  • PublishedJuly 10, 2024

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) have launched protests across multiple institutions, including the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife.

The demonstrations are in response to the non-payment of withheld salaries, a grievance that has been festering for several months.

At OAU, scores of staff members were seen rallying through the campus of the university, chanting slogans and holding placards that read, “Who is fooling who? President Bola Ahmed Tinubu or Minister of Education;” “Release of our four months with held salaries;” “Renegotiation of the 2009 Federal Government – SSANU Agreement;” and “Slow Pace of the government in the negotiation of the new national minimum wage”.

The protest started at about 10 am as the members of the Senior Staff Association Of Nigerian Universities were seen rallying around the campus of the university.

SSANU and NASU leaders expressed their frustration over the government’s failure to address their demands.

Speaking with Osun Defender at the protest, SSANU OAU Chairman, Mr. Taiwo Arobadi, urged President Bola Tinubu to, as a matter of urgency, pay the withheld four months salary of SSANU members, approve the new national minimum wage and the payment of N50 billion outstanding Earned Allowances of her members.

He said, “The reason for this protest is to press our only demands. We ask the federal government to pay our four months’ salaries withheld. We went on strike in 2022, and then the Buhari regime withheld our salaries.

READ: SSANU, NASU To Shutdown Campuses On Thursday

“On October 2023, the President of this nation, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, approved that all university workers be paid. To our surprise, the Minister of Finance and Minister of Education paid ASUU alone. So, since then, we have been discussing with the federal government through the Minister of Education and Labour, but it will interest you that the Minister of Education said he has sent his letter to the President since March for his approval.

“We are now in July and still waiting for the approval. Who is fooling whom? We are asking. Is the Minister of Education fooling us, or the President of this nation? That’s why we are saying, pay us our withheld salaries.

“We have many issues on the ground. We are asking for a minimum wage; up till now, the federal government has not approved the minimum wage. The President said he would be paying us ₦35,000 every month pending the approval of the minimum wage. The federal government stopped paying that money since February, and we are in July; we are still expecting the minimum wage.

“In 2023, before Buhari left office, we factored our ₦50 billion earned allowance into the supplementary budget and signed it into law. It will interest you, sir, that up till now, we are still expecting that money. Did the federal government want to tell us that they don’t have that money? Because we are all parents and wouldn’t want to distort our children’s education.

“That’s why we said, let’s stage a day protest, and we give them up till July 18th. If they fail to pay us, we may have no other option than to proceed on an indefinite strike from July 18th”

Similar scenes unfolded at other major universities, including the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) among others.

In each location, staff members echoed the call for immediate payment and threatened to escalate their actions if the government did not respond promptly.

At the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna state, placard-carrying non-academic staff members had several inscriptions on their placards as they marched around the university campus, calling on the federal government to release their withheld salaries and implement their other outstanding demands.

At the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), in Imo state, displeased workers marched around the university community to press home their demands.

The protests have garnered widespread support from the academic community and student bodies, who joined in solidarity with the protesting staff.

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