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Release 2022 withheld salaries, SSANU urges FG

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The National President, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mohammed Ibrahim has appealed to the Federal Government to release the withheld four months salaries of its members to help reduce the economic hardship on them.

In 2022, two months after ASUU commenced a nationwide strike, both SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions also embarked on nationwide industrial action.

The action was to protest the government’s failure to fulfil its promises to the workers.

SSANU queried the rationale behind the government’s insistence on the ‘no work, no pay policy,’ saying that due process was followed before embarking on the strike that lasted four months. Till he left office, Buhari seized the payment of the workers.

However, in October last year, President Bola Tinubu announced that his government would pay four months of the withheld salaries to members of ASUU, immediately raising concerns as to the fate of the members of the other unions.

A few weeks ago, the Nigerian government began paying the academics, leaving out the non-academic staff.

On February 13, 2024, SSANU and NASU unions wrote protest letters to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman over the exclusion of the non-teaching staff from the payment of outstanding four months’ salaries.

However, on March 1 2024, the unions threatened to disrupt industrial peace in universities should the government fail to release the withheld salaries of members.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Ibrahim noted that the union’s patience was running out if the FG did not do the needful.

He said, “Our patience is running out and we are meeting within the next seven days to make a final decision.

“However, we said we should reach out to the FG through this medium so that in the end, no one will blame us for downing tools.”

The president added that the poor economy was taking a toll on its members and the four months’ salaries once released will help cushion its effects.

“Clearly, with the current economic situation in the country, our members are finding things very difficult. After the strike and withholding of the salaries, we lost so many members as a result of their inability to meet up with medical checkups, sent out of their rented apartments, and our children sent out from schools due to non-payment of their fees,  among others.

“Once this money is given to our members, it would cushion the effect of the economy on our members and it would give some semblance of justice to every member of staff working in the universities.

“We are using this medium to call on the Chief of Staff, Minister of finance, Accountant General of the Federation and all those that matter in this issue to see the reasons for releasing the four months’ salary of non-teaching staff (SSANU and NASU),” Ibrahim pleaded.

He however threatened, “But anything short of that, we cannot guarantee the continuous work environment to function.”

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