Nigerian university staff to embark on indefinite strike

The Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have announced plans to commence an indefinite strike on February 5.

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have disclosed that they will be embarking on “an indefinite, comprehensive and total strike” from February 5th.

The Joint Action Committee of both unions, disclosed this while addressing reporters in a press conference on Friday. The committee explained that it is giving the Government two weeks till February 5th to address its demands, else the industrial action will commence.

The unions had embarked on a fourteen day warning strike between 5th and 19th of October 2020 in protest of a number of issues bordering on the welfare of their members. The warning strike culminated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the 20th of October, 2020 between the representatives of the unions and the government.

The committee disclosed that out of the eight demands it made to the government, only one had implemented. The spokesperson, Comrade Peter’s Adeyemi said: “the ongoing industrial tensions in the University System stem from the failure of Government to respect Collective Bargaining Agreements entered into with the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU.”

“Out of eight of the issues, only one has been partially resolved while the other seven have not been attended to by Government, three months after the Memorandum of Understandiny was signed,” he said.

“It is in line with the resolution of our members nationwide, that the leadership of the Jount Action Committee of NASU and SSANU hereby resolve that members of NASU and SSANU shall embark on an indefinite, comprehensive and total strike with effect from midnight of Friday, 5th of February.

“Also, a two weeks notice effective from today, Friday 22nd January 2021, is hereby given to the Government and relevant stakeholders.”

The eight issues for which an MoU was signed are: Inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, Non-payment of earned allowances, Non-payment of arrears of National Minimum Wage, Delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, Non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members.

Other issues complained about were: teaching staff usurping headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, neglect and poor funding of state universities, and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.