By Bitrus Osagie
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), has urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency pay backlog of salaries to all universities workers to help cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.
Comrade Mohammed Haruna, the National President of SSANU made the call in Kashere on the occasion of the union’s 6th Regular Zonal Executive Council (ZEC) meeting/ Zonal Women Conference for the Northeast zone hosted by the Federal University of Kashere (FUK) chapter on Monday.
Haruna said the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on varsity workers was unimaginable as many of the workers were making a lot of sacrifices just to impact knowledge on students and keep the universities running.
He said as a result of the subsidy removal many university staff had been forced to spend huge part of their salaries on fueling their cars as well as on transportation.
He said that the best time for the Federal Government to pay backlog of salaries to workers was now as that would help them cushion the current hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy since varsity workers were yet to receive any palliatives.
“We use this opportunity to draw the attention of government that the dragonian idea of removing the fuel subsidy has been implemented, now as progressives, we will not beg to bring back subsidy but if you are removing subsidy, you should have been proactive to also bring and put in place palliative that will cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.
“Today, our workers are suffering because the salary is not more than what you pay for fueling of their vehicles.
“Therefore, we use this opportunity to urge the government to without further delay pay our salary backlog for all university staff both teaching and non-teaching.
“If you (government) could consider giving palliative to some people who are not workers, why would you want to keep the salaries of workers which should and must be paid.
“It is one of our fore demands to government that salaries of workers in the universities must be part of what the government will pay to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal,” he said.
Haruna said the reason for workers’ strike that led to the backlogs of salaries was not the union’s making and so they should not be made to suffer for government’s inability to honour their part of the agreement it entered with the union.
The SSANU national president also frowned at government’s action to dissolve the governing councils, urging it to rescind its decision, stressing that further delay to restore the councils would impact negatively on the university system; promotions, infrastructural development and security.
While assuring members of continued struggle towards the improvement of the wellbeing and welfare of university workers, Haruna urged its members to remain resolute and collaborate with other sister unions to take the universities in the country to greater heights.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor of FUK, Prof. Umaru Pate commended the union for choosing Kashere varsity to host their meeting, adding that under his leadership, a lot of reforms had been implemented towards improving staff welfare and well-being as well as revolutionising the infrastructure towards providing better services for students and the nation at large.
Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Umar Abubakar Gurama, Pate urged the Federal Government to ensure proper funding of the universities which would help reposition them to better equip Nigerian students to measure up with the peers globally.
On his part, Comrade Adamu Danlami, chairman of SSANU in FUK said the meeting would be leveraged to harness ideas that would help improve members’ welfare as well as strengthen the unions relations with other sister unions.
Our correspondent reports that the theme of the meeting is “A Perceptional Analysis of the effect of Housework and Patriarchy on Women’s level of Participation in Union Activities in Nigeria.