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SSANU Predicts Fresh Crisis Over Withheld Salaries, Flays Ondo Govt Over Proposed University

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By Ayodele Oni

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU) has sent a red signal of fresh industrial crisis in the universities to the federal government as Nigerians prepare to enter new year.

SSANU hinted that the continued refusal of the Federal Government to pay all the withhold salaries of members cannot guarantee stable calendar in 2023.

The union cautioned that students should not be forced to witness another year 2022 episode in year 2023.

Tayo Ogungbeni, Chairman, SSANU-AAUA / Chairman, JAC-ODSTI, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo state stated this in a statement on Thursday.

“We as SSANU members love peace and will do everything possible to maintain peace but the only antidote to peace in Nigerian universities is adequate

“Only government can guarantee a stable academic calendar for the public universities in the new year.

“It is a fact that since the various Unions in Nigerian Universities suspended their industrial action, re-negotiation has also stopped! Our political leaders do not want the children of the masses to have a better future.

“At the Federal level, government is doing everything humanly possible to ‘kill’ public universities because government officials can conveniently send their wards to private universities and even abroad!

“Why will a reasonable government that failed in its responsibilities punished the workers with no work, no pay? It is unfortunate that university education is sitting on gunpowder.”

The Association condemned the proposed establishment of another university by the Ondo state government, while existing ones are underfunded with workers owed over ten months salaries.

Ondo State government recently announced that plans had been concluded to upgrade the state-owned Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO), to a university.

According to the state government, already, a seven-member committee has been set up to look into the modalities for the upgrade.

The state government said the move was in line with the Federal Government’s directive that all Polytechnics should either be converted to universities or be affiliated with existing ones.

The Commissioner for Education, Femi Agagu, said the polytechnic would be upgraded to University of Management Sciences and Technology.

Ogungbeni however said, “Let me congratulate all members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) for bidding year 2022 farewell successfully, a year of torment and hunger.

“We shall never forget year 2022 in a hurry. God has confirmed through the happenings in year 2022 that He is our sustenance and provider.

“We are entering the new year with arrears of salaries ranging between 4 and 10 months in Ondo State Tertiary institutions.

“Almost four years after the implementation of the New National Minimum Wage in Nigeria, none of the tertiary institutions in our Ondo State has implemented it for its workforce. Are we not part of Nigeria anymore?

“Underfunding is the hallmark of all the tertiary institutions in Ondo State comprising of three state-owned Universities and a Polytechnic, yet, the establishment of a fourth University is almost a done deal.

“Is our problem establishment of Universities or improving the funding of the existing ones? Our Governor should help the existing universities to compete favourably with other sisters’ universities worldwide.”

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