Nigeria’s University Workers Unite in Nationwide Protest Over Unpaid Salaries

By  Sakeenah Abdullateef



University workers across Nigeria, comprising members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), staged a massive protest on Tuesday, demanding the immediate release of their long-withheld salaries.

The protest brought academic activities to a grinding halt in public universities, with workers carrying placards bearing messages like “Release Our Withheld Salaries Now” and “Meet Our Outstanding Demands”.

The protests are ongoing, with workers marching across campuses, urging the government to address their grievances and meet their demands.

At the University of Ibadan, the protest caused significant traffic congestion, while at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State, and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), in Imo State, protesters marched across campuses, demanding the Federal government to pay their withheld salaries and implement other demands.

SSANU and NASU members at the Universities of Ilorin in Kwara State also joined the protest, calling on political leaders to reduce governance costs and adopt more modest lifestyles to meet their financial demands.

After a congress, the leaders of the two bodies and their members held a rally across the university campus, expressing their disappointment and frustration at the government’s failure to meet their demands since 2009.

“We’re tired of being neglected and marginalized,” said one protester. “We want to see our salaries paid, and our demands met.”

NASU National President Makolo Hassan reiterated on Monday that the planned protests would go ahead as scheduled, as the Federal Government had failed to address their demands despite their previous warning strike.

The protests followed the expiration of a two-week ultimatum issued by NASU and SSANU in June, after the Federal Government failed to address their demands despite their previous warning strike.

The unions criticized the government for prioritizing the payment of withheld salaries to ASUU while neglecting non-academic staff, despite their joint eight-month strike in 2022.

“We feel discriminated against,” said another protester. “We went on strike together with ASUU, but they have been paid, and we have not.”

Education Minister Tahir Mamman had attributed the non-payment of SSANU and NASU members’ salaries to a “communication problem”, denying any discrimination.

However, three months after the minister’s assurance, SSANU and NASU members claimed they had yet to receive any payment, contradicting the Minister’s promise.

The protests continue, with workers demanding the government to address their grievances and meet their demands to avoid a total breakdown of university education across the country.

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