The Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has flayed the Nigerian government over its continued silence on the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by non-academic staff of universities in Nigeria.
Its Amir (President) in Lagos State, Saheed Ashafa expressed the group’s disappointment in a statement sent to EduCeleb.com on Wednesday.
He complained about the alleged poor attention paid to the striking workers by the Federal Government.
His reaction is coming few days to the organisation’s Sisters Empowerment Programme and Campus Interactive Forum scheduled for February 24th and 25th respectively.
EduCeleb.com recalls that the nonacademic staff unions under the aegis of Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non- Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Associated Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) on Dec. 4, 2017, embarked on an indefinite strike.
They are protesting non-implementation of the agreement they entered into with the Federal Government in 2009.
The unions are also protesting the sharing formula of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government as part of the earned allowance for workers of Federal universities.
According to him, the ongoing strike had stayed too long and will further worsen the country’s standard of education.
He wondered why the Federal Government would subject a segment of universities’ workers to hardship, urging that an urgent effort be made to get the issue resolved.
Dr Ashafa urged that President Muhammadu Buhari should react to the ongoing crisis like other national issues, saying “his not giving priority to the strike action is sending a bad perception about his administration”.
He proceeded thus, “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 is 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, power houses 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 deserve to know what the plans of the FG are in resolving this crisis and preventing subsequent ones.”
Ashafa, who appealed to the striking workers to be considerate, regretted that students were the ones at the receiving end of the strike.
“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,” he added.