Strike: EWAN hosts education minister, labour leaders on forum

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The Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN), a body of journalists across print, online and broadcast platforms, will on Sunday hold a forum to engage critical stakeholders including the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, among others, over the ongoing warning strike by workers’ unions in the universities.

According to a statement on Saturday by EWAN, the Presidents of both Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Muhammed Ibrahim, and Ibeji Nwokema, respectively, have confirmed their participation in the virtual programme.
The statement, endorsed by the Chairperson of the planning committee, Elizabeth Osayande, noted that the forum, which will take place via Zoom, is scheduled to hold between 4p.m and 5:30p.m on Sunday, 24 March.

According to Mrs Osayande, EWAN is aware that the Minister and other officials of the ministry met with the labour unions during the week, but the fact that there was no concrete resolutions, demanded urgent intervention from stakeholders including the media.

She noted that EWAN’s intervention became necessary in order to gain firsthand knowledge on the matter and report the issues fairly, noting that what Nigeria witnessed during the prolonged industrial actions in 2022 was not palatable and that “such an experience should not be allowed to repeat itself again.”
She said: “As a body of journalists, we have a responsibility not just to report but to report fairly and possibly create avenues for stakeholders to engage and offer the public opportunities to intervene before matters degenerate.
“Shutting down the universities for about eight months in 2022 caused a major setback for the nation’s university education, and we cannot fold our arms to allow another round of indefinite industrial action to jeopardise the future of our country. Like every other person, journalists also have a role to play.”

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It would be recalled that the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and other Associated Institutions (NASU) had on Monday commenced a seven-day warning strike to press home its demand for the payment of members’ withheld four months salaries since 2022.

The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) also, during the week, embarked on a warning strike over the same issue.

The development, which disrupted activities across various campuses nationwide, reportedly led to the death of a student at the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, for being unable to access the institution’s healthcare centre when he was ill.

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