‘By Raymond Ozoji, Awka

The chairperson, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University chapter in Anambra State, Comrade Dr. Njideka Nwangwu, has passionately appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to please in the interest of Nigerian students respond to the requests of striking university staff across the country and reopen the universities to enable the students to return to their various campuses to avoid escalation of unwanted pregnancies and criminalities amongst youths who she said were currently idle at home.Comrade Nwangwu, who made the appeal in Awka, said the present federal government seemed to be insensitive and completely unyielding to the blight cast on the tertiary education sector of the nation’s economy following the lingering five-month-old industrial action that has totally crippled public universities in the country.She said that the prolonged strike embarked upon by the staff of public universities has prompted idle female students to visit their boyfriends and engage in illicit sex and get illegitimate pregnancies while their idle male counterparts get involved in all forms of vile activities whence they become more criminally minded.She said President Buhari has really failed Nigerian workers, as the current status quo was not what the workers envisaged, but she maintained that enough is enough and that the earlier the president responded to the needs of public university workers, the better for Nigerians because she believes very strongly that further degeneration of the status quo will spell doom for the entire nation.Nwangwu lauded the efforts of the labour minister, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige, for his tireless mediations as she said Ngige was fully aware that ASUU was not the only union involved in the strike, and there were other unions like SSANU, NASU, NAT and others and that the said Briggs committee report will only create more problems if it considered only one union in the university system.Nwangwu, who also doubles as the zonal treasurer of the Southeast Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, said the situation in the country does not favour Nigerian workers especially the university system. She said staff of Nigerian public universities were living presently as if they were living in 2009, that the last negotiation for university workers was in 2009 and ever since salaries of university workers have remained the same despite an astronomical increase in the prices of goods and services as well as general high cost of living in the country under the present administration.According to her, “We don’t support any disparity in the university salary structure. If there is disparity; that means there will be problems because we all possess the same degrees. So I don’t see why there should be disparities in their salaries. After all, SSANU is the hub of the university system. We have the registrar, directors and majorities who make up principal officers of the university system. So why relegate us to the background?“Also, the funding of state universities is very poor. We want our children back to school and it is only when all these things are settled, that we will resume duty again. The IPPIS is a scam. There are shortfalls in our salaries. Our take-home pay can no longer take us home. We have proposed University Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS)  for the university system which is a system that captures the peculiarities of the Nigerian Universities. They should embrace UPPPS.“The federal government should call all university based unions to a round table discussion. Our positions are being taken over in the university system. We want the federal government to look into the university system and know those who are occupying positions that are not their own and then allow the appropriate people to occupy their positions.“The federal government should do the needful so that our children will go back to school because many of them are turning into criminals. Many of them are getting pregnant while others are doing all sorts of things inimical to them just because our universities are closed and they are at home idle and absolutely doing nothing.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here