SSANU, NASU members protest strike suspension, pelt leaders

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Members of the Joint Action Committee of Non-Academic Staff Union and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, University of Lagos, branch, booed and threw sachets of pure water at their leaders who addressed them during a protest on Wednesday.

The PUNCH had reported that the leadership of JAC of SSANU/NASU, in a statement on Saturday, asked all its members nationwide to resume on Wednesday.

However, the UNILAG branch members protested the suspension of the strike.

The JAC of NASU and SSANU embarked on national industrial action on March 27, 2022 and called it off on August 20, 2022.

Some members of JAC of SSANU and NASU, who spoke with our correspondents, said a congress was supposed to be held before the suspension of the strike.

The aggrieved UNILAG members wielded various placards with inscriptions, ‘We have no confidence in the national leaders of NASU/SSANU,’ ‘We are tired of general secretary, Adeyemi Peters and Mohammed Ibrahim of SSANU, they must go!’, We are civil servants, not slaves,’ and ‘NASU SSANU say, no salary, no resumption’ among others.

The crisis escalated when some of the protesters chased away their executives and attempted to beat them up.

A former chairman of SSNAU, UNILAG, Mr Oriwaye Adefolalu, said JAC of SSANU and NASU goofed by calling off the strike.

He said, “The way they did it was wrong. You took a decision without going back to the branches. If the government is deceiving us, if the management of the university is deceiving us, the union we fund with our sweat should not deceive us.

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“That is why you see people are very angry with them. The incumbent leadership of SSANU is not truthful. Initially, I thought they didn’t know what they were doing but they do. All they are after is their personal gain.

“We are telling them now to go back and reverse their decision. I am 100% convinced that the suspension of the strike was stage-managed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to save his job.”

A former UNILAG NASU branch chairman, Ganiyu Adeshina, said, “The fact is that our union leaders at national level have failed us for not getting back before signing the MoU. The past salary must be paid because we have not contravened any law.

“The law says you must be on strike for three months before your salary can be stopped. We have not even spent two months before they stopped our salary and no union leader will sign that salaries of his members should not be paid.’’

However, the National President of SSANU, Muhammed Ibrahim, expressed his disappointment over the protesting members of the unions, saying three branch members of each of the unions were at the council meeting where the decision to call off the strike was taken.

He said, “We have a leadership in UNILAG  and we are not aware that the leadership is protesting, they are dissidents who called themselves members in UNILAG, they are novices or they don’t know what the union stands for or what the constitution of the union says.

“The Constitution of SSANU clearly states that it is only members of the executive committee who can suspend a strike. The national executive committee has three members per branch meaning UNILAG three members were at the meeting and we were not aware of anyone disagreeing with the decision. The constitution clearly states how grievances are to be addressed; they can write the union through the leadership of branches through the zone and then to the national body.

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“There is no place in the constitution that gives the right to people to start throwing stones, pure water, and fighting themselves because they are not happy with the decision taken by the union.’’

He added that the constitution maintained that only the national executive body had the power to call off a strike, saying the constitution did not give room that they had to seek the opinion of the branches before taking decisions.

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