Varsity strikes: Unions angry, unrelenting

Some union leaders have said that the strikes in the universities are fuelled by Nigerian politicians and thieving civil servants, accusing the former of being an “insincere,” bunch constantly frittering away the nation’s resources.

The politicians, they maintained, have their hands on the cookie jar, funnelling money off to train their children in universities abroad, while abandoning the Nigerian university system to die naturally

One of the angry unionists, Comrade Ilyas Bello Abdul, the outgoing national chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said: “We are pained each time we hear politicians and civil servants stealing humongous sums of money. We have heard the N170 billion alleged to be missing from the Accountant General of the Federation’s office. There are thousands of such pilfering going on.”

Comrade Abdul who accused the politicians of being the remote reason the strikes linger noted that it happens “because of their sheer indiscipline, and lack of concern for the citizenry. Not because Nigeria does not have money to resolve these things; we have enough money to fix our education sector.”

Also Comrade Kehinde Ajibade, chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU), University of Lagos chapter, pointed out that the ongoing strike provides the brightest chance to have their demands met, unsure of what the next government after President Buhari would do.

“We at NASU and SSANU, do not enjoy staying at home, neither do we want to destabilise the universities. None of that!

“But if we don’t get what belongs to us now, once a new president comes in May 2023, he will tell us to give him a year to study our agreement with previous governments. He will claim that he has never even heard about our agreement before. You know our people, and that is very unfortunate. So, we cannot wait till 2024. We cannot afford that. So, we insist the government should do the needful now.”

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Varsity strikes: Unions angry, unrelenting
■ Accuse govt officials of stealing money, sending their children to schools overseas, leaving Nigerian system to collapse
5th June 2022
Varsity strikes: Unions angry, unrelenting
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By Cosmas Omegoh

Some union leaders have said that the strikes in the universities are fuelled by Nigerian politicians and thieving civil servants, accusing the former of being an “insincere,” bunch constantly frittering away the nation’s resources.

The politicians, they maintained, have their hands on the cookie jar, funnelling money off to train their children in universities abroad, while abandoning the Nigerian university system to die naturally.

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Politicians stealing money

One of the angry unionists, Comrade Ilyas Bello Abdul, the outgoing national chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) said: “We are pained each time we hear politicians and civil servants stealing humongous sums of money. We have heard the N170 billion alleged to be missing from the Accountant General of the Federation’s office. There are thousands of such pilfering going on.”

Govt toss us around

Comrade Abdul who accused the politicians of being the remote reason the strikes linger noted that it happens “because of their sheer indiscipline, and lack of concern for the citizenry. Not because Nigeria does not have money to resolve these things; we have enough money to fix our education sector.”

Also Comrade Kehinde Ajibade, chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU), University of Lagos chapter, pointed out that the ongoing strike provides the brightest chance to have their demands met, unsure of what the next government after President Buhari would do.

“We at NASU and SSANU, do not enjoy staying at home, neither do we want to destabilise the universities. None of that!

“But if we don’t get what belongs to us now, once a new president comes in May 2023, he will tell us to give him a year to study our agreement with previous governments. He will claim that he has never even heard about our agreement before. You know our people, and that is very unfortunate. So, we cannot wait till 2024. We cannot afford that. So, we insist the government should do the needful now.”

Comrade Ajibade said that no one should blame the unions for the constant strikes that have plagued the universities.

“To tell you the truth, the majority of those in government are not showing interest in returning the students back to school because all their children are schooling abroad. Nothing concerns them about the welfare of Nigerian universities because all their children are enjoying good education overseas.

“Now, all the money that is supposed to be invested in Nigerian education system is being taken away to boost other countries’ economy. How right is that?” he queried.

On his part, Comrade Abdul insisted that “the government is not sincere. What they are after is the 2023 election. They don’t have our time, and that is unfortunate. It is more unfortunate that the current leadership has refused to place high premium on education.”

He says it is so because “our government is not showing concern about the strike.

“Look at how they are struggling, conducting primaries, and jubilating all over the place. It is all because their children are overseas. And they say ‘if they like let them not reopen the schools.’”

He, therefore, urged the public to “cry to the government and not to people who are fighting to ensure that things are done right.”

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