The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal government to restores the dignity of Nigeria’s tertiary Institutions through increased budgetary allocations, and creation of enabling environment for staff to excel.
The Union also said that workers must use their voters card and the powers it wills to determine their future in Nigeria starting from 2023 general elections.
NAAT National President, Comrade (Hon.) Ibeji Nwokoma, in his May Day commemoration message, further lamented that ‘the failure of Government to address the issue of unemployment, security challenges, decay in infrastructure and educational deficit is appalling. He there call on workers across the country and NAAT members in particular to gear up for active participation in electioneering process that will favour their well-being and the progress of Nigeria.
“We demand that Government restores the dignity of our Tertiary Institutions through increased budgetary allocations, and creation of enabling environment for staff to excel. Our children, are all still at home, due to the closure of the Universities. Government should as a matter of urgency dialogue with the Unions and find amicable solutions to the issues in dispute, bearing in mind that no nation rises above her level of education, and keeping those youths at home and idle at this period of electioneering is a disaster in waiting.
“In the face of the failure of Government to address the issue of unemployment, security challenges, decay in infrastructure and educational deficit. This year’s Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) theme: Labour, Politics and Quest for Good Governance and Development in Nigeria is apt. I call on all workers in Nigeria and our dear NAAT members to rise up to the occasion by ensuring that we participate actively in all political processes and take our destiny in our hands.”
He also said; “Our universities have been shut down for almost three (3) months now due to the strike action by the Unions. Unfortunately, our government seem, more interested in politicking and preparations for the next round of elections. We cannot lose sight of the fact that our Union embarked on strike because of insensitivity, insincerity and refusal of government to implement our collectively bargained agreements.
“Today, in spite of the agreements, the balance of arrears of Occupational Hazard Allowance, payment of arrears of the minimum wage and the consequential adjustments, huge backlog of arrears of Earned Allowances (EA) as far back as 2012 for most Universities, non-release of the extant circular for CONTISS 14 & 15 amongst others are all outstanding.
“Today, our Laboratories, Workshops and Studios are being turned to classrooms, and most of the equipment are obsolete with little or no attention paid to training and re-training of Academic Technologists, whose responsibilities are to impact practical knowledge and skill to the students. No wonder today, houses are collapsing, roads are failing, as the Universities turn out graduates without skills and exposure to practical knowledge.”
On the plight of workers, he said; “I salute your doggedness, resilience and courage in your effort for a better life for yourselves, families and dependents in our Nation Nigeria richly endowed with human and natural resources but poorly managed over the decades by those who preside over our commonwealth.
“The average Nigerian worker today must be a magician and a miracle worker with her slave wage and N30, 000.00 minimum wage all in the midst of security challenges of banditry, kidnappings known and unknown gunmen, very weak currency and rising inflationary rates.
“Today our Union and ASUU has been singled out for the implementation of the policy of “No work, No pay”. Comrades, I your President and indeed the National Leadership stand with you in this trying moment. Our strike action is legitimate and followed every due process.
“We, therefore stand on “No pay, No work”. This divide and rule policy of Government shall not work. Be rest assured that we shall come out better, stronger with every dime paid before or on resumption of work. United we stand for our Union makes us strong.”