A protest letter has been signed by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), to resist the proposed government circular to remove University Staff Primary Schools from the nominal payrolls of the Universities and the government Treasury.
At the multipurpose hall of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) yesterday, the members at a congress brandished placards, chanting solidarity songs to express their dismay on the issue.
Chairing the congress, Comrade Alfred Jimoh, National Vice-President, SSANU, said implementation of such directive would translate into privatization of the universities’ staff schools, and that would pose a threat to the jobs of the staff of the schools.
SSANU described the report as repugnant, in bad taste and offensive to the background, history, establishment and mandates of educational institutions in Nigeria and all over the world.
The group noted that implementation of such a directive would not only run contrary to the purpose of the creation of universities, but also undermine the prevailing industrial peace existing in the Nigerian university system and as well, compromise its stability.
Jimoh also described the directive as a breach to the agreement of the FG to SSANU in 2009 that had thus stated: “The University shall bear full capital and recurrent cost of university staff primary schools”.
The SSANU VP also criticized Prof Julius Okojie of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Federal Education Ministry’s Ebenezer Fayemi as being the perpetrators of the inciting government plans. He therefore called for their immediate sack.
The union also described the intention of government concerning university staff schools as inconsistent with the mantra of the present government to create one million jobs.
The union said it would defend the agreement concerning the funding of the staff schools from the treasury of the universities, adding: “We would do all these with everything within our powers, including protests, and other measures of industrial action”.
Comrade Adekola Adetomiwa, Chairman, SSANU, UNILAG, told journalists that since the staff schools of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Police Affairs and Ministry of Education’s 102 Unity Schools were also being funded from the treasury, there was no reason to single out University Staff Schools from doing the same.
He noted: “The N2billion annual budget allocated to the 24 universities that fund their staff schools was of little burden to the government in comparison with the N100billion spent on the Army and Police Staff Schools, adding that about 5000 workers could be thrown into the labour market if the directive is not reversed.