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UniAbuja staff protest unpaid salaries

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Non-teaching staff members of Nigerian universities, under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), staged a protest in Abuja on Tuesday. The protest highlighted ongoing grievances, including unpaid salaries and unfulfilled agreements with the federal government.

The protest began at the University of Abuja’s Gwagwalada campus and ended at the main campus on Airport Road. Demonstrators carried placards with messages such as “Non-Teaching Staff are Important Stakeholders in the University” and “Pay us our sweat,” reflecting their frustration over delayed payments and unmet promises.

Nurudeen Yusuf, Chairman of JAC Abuja Chapter and SSANU, addressed the media, condemning the government’s failure to honor commitments dating back to March 2022, when members first went on strike. Yusuf noted that despite assurances during President Bola Tinubu’s 2023 campaign to end strikes and subsequent directives for salary payments, the issue remains unresolved.

“We embarked on this protest to draw attention to issues affecting our welfare and university education, particularly the non-payment of our withheld four months’ salaries,” Yusuf stated. He expressed disappointment over what he termed as selective implementation of presidential directives, favoring teaching staff over non-teaching counterparts.

Yusuf warned of potential escalations if the government continues to neglect their demands, hinting at a nationwide shutdown of university operations. He urged ministerial intervention to prevent further disruption to academic activities, emphasising the need for equitable treatment and fulfillment of agreements to restore trust among university staff.

The protest underscores ongoing discontent over unresolved salary issues and perceived unequal treatment compared to academic counterparts. As tensions rise, stakeholders and government officials are urged to engage constructively to avert further disruptions in university operations nationwide.

“Our hope was renewed with President Tinubu’s promises, but nine months after his directive, we are yet to receive our salaries. This selective implementation undermines our trust in the government’s commitment to education,” emphasized Yusuf.

The protest follows failed negotiations with the federal government over withheld salaries and alleged breaches of agreements. SSANU and NASU have further threatened additional actions, including potential total shutdowns of universities, if their demands are not met promptly. They also called on the Minister of Education and the Minister of Labour and Employment to take immediate action to address the grievances to prevent prolonged disruptions in academic activities.

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