Non-academic staff (NASU) on Tuesday in nationwide protests said universities in the country would not reopen unless the governments do away with the controversial Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, address the issue of discriminatory disbursement of Earned Allowance, pay them arrears of the new minimum wage among other issues.
They also called for the sack of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and his counterpart in the Labour Ministry, Dr Chris Ngige, for supporting their academic colleagues to cheat them in the disbursement of the N40 billion released by the Federal Government as Earned Allowances for workers in the university system.
From Abuja, Ilorin, Lagos, Ibadan, Calabar and across the country, the workers, under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, noted that without their demands being met, the hope of reopening universities in the country after months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic would not materialise.
Workers driven out of Senate Building in UNILAG
At the University of Lagos, UNILAG, the workers, who held a joint congress under their jointly-formed Joint Action Committee, JAC, in front of the Senate Building, were addressed by their chairmen, Comrade Olusola Sowunmi of SSANU and Comrade Kehinde Ajibade of NASU.
The leaders said the protest involved workers on grade level 1-14 and therefore held that any worker in that category found working in his/her office be driven out.
They subsequently went into the Senate Building, which houses the office of the Vice Chancellor and drove out the workers.
However, the VC, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, was not in the office.
The workers then marched to the main gate of the institution which they blocked with their vehicles.
According to Sowunmi and Ajibade, the Federal Government deceived them into enrolling in the IPPIS.
“No worker can say this is how much he or she earns a month. The inconsistencies are too many. Funny enough, the IPPIS has been turned to a warehouse of our legitimate funds, as deductions are not remitted. When did it become a Central Bank?
“We are staff and not slaves. As we speak, over 10 of our former members have died while waiting for their entitlements. The government has not been sincere in its dealings with us,” Ajibade said.
On his part, Sowunmi said it was unfortunate that some people in government felt it would be better to pamper one union out of the four staff unions in the university system.
“How can we have four unions in the university system and the government releases N40 billion for allowances and one union is allowed to take 75 percent of the money? We won’t allow this to continue and with this our protest, we are putting an end to such an injustice,” he said.
The workers also called for the sack of the Ministers of Education and Labour, Malam Adamu Adamu and Dr Chris Ngige.
Their grouse against the ministers is that they are fuelling the discrimination against them by the teaching staff.