The Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) call on President Mohammadu Buhari-led government to end without further delay the ongoing strike that seem to have permanently shutdown Nigeria’s tertiary education.
MHWUN also threatened to commence a solidarity industrial action in support of its sister unions in the education sector should the federal government delay in resolving all the issues that caused the strike in the tertiary education sector.
The union in a press statement jointly signed by its National President, Comrade Biobelemoye J. Josiah, and Acting Secretary General, Comrade Auwalu Yusuf Kiyawa, said; “The Leadership of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria have followed with a keen interest the ongoing industrial impasse in the Country’s Public tertiary Institutions, which had led to their closure since 14h February, 2022 and the lethargic response of Government in addressing the problem.
“The ASUU, NASU, SAUTHRIAI, NAAT had been on strike for more than five months due to the apparent failure of Government to sign the re-negotiated 2009 Agreement with ASUU, failure to honour the terms reached at the May 2021 MoU signed with ASUU, and habitual failure of Government to respect Collective Bargaining Agreements willingly signed with Unions.
“Also in contention is the refusal of Government to adopt the home-grown innovative solutions provided by the Unions in the payment of University Workers’ Salaries.
“It is equally disheartening to note that since the unfortunate strike started, Government actions and response to such a huge national embarrassment had been more of “motion without movement”. If anything, Government response has not gone beyond the watery statement of “We are meeting with the Unions…” or the usual out-dated tactics of blackmailing Union Leaders as in similar situation.”
MHWUN further said; “No responsible Government would close down its Public Tertiary Institutions in this 21st century because of patriotic demands for a better funding of its Universities and good welfare for its teaching and non-teaching staff. This is shameful.
“The Leadership of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria is particularly irked that the Federal Government and the political Actors have abandoned the children of the poor masses at home to waste away, instead they are seen dissipating energy and resources that could have been used to resolve the issue to fund political tussle to occupy plum offices that previous occupiers have failed to use for the benefit of the masses. We are more worried with the development because the academic future of the Citizenry is being disrupted whereas the politicians and top Government officials have their children mostly in well funded and equipped oversea schools or in relatively expensive private schools in Nigeria.
“Discerning minds will agree with us that the negative impact of the strike to the future of our children and Nigeria in general cannot be quantified. We call on people of goodwill to stand up in defense of the right and future of our children and Nigeria, by demanding Government to do the right thing and bring back these children to the classroom.
“We condemn in strong terms the lethargic attitude of Government in resolving the issues in contention.
“ In order to protect the future of our youths whose academic life is being disrupted, we call on the Government toimplement without further delay all the agreements it had entered with the Unions. We urge the relevant MDAs to ensure that President Mohammadu Buhari’s earlier directive to resolve all outstanding issues with the Unions is backed by immediate acceptable action that would end the stalemate.
“MHWUN wishes to use this medium to unequivocally state that we firmly stand behind the University based Unions and the clear position of NLC leadership in this historic struggle.
“Our State Councils have been put on a red alert, as we will not hesitate to declare a solidarity strike in support of the Unions if Government fails to resolve the issue within a reasonable time.”
On the disheartening state of insecurity in the country, the Health Workers Union said; “Medical and health Workers Union of Nigeria categorically condemn in the strongest words the spate of insecurity in the Country. The rising orgies of killing, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and extreme agitation for secession have assumed a dangerous dimension. Hardly any day passes by without reports of security challenges in some parts of the Country. Human lives have become so cheap and without value.
“Nigerian workers are no longer safe both at their homes and at work places, as many have lost their lives to these enemies of State. We therefore, demand for a resolute action from Government to end this degrading assault on thesovereignty of our Nation. We equally condemn the current scarcity of diesel, cooking gas, petrol and aviation fuel, and the rising wave of arbitrary prices all over the country.
“This pathetic development has further exposed workers whose salarles and income has already been eroded by inflation, to greater hardship. The situation reinforced the earlier call by the organized Labour for a resolute action on domestic refining of petroleum.
“According to its 2021 OPEC report, Nigeria export petroleum products worth 27.73 billion dollar, but imported refined products of 71.28 billion dollar, leaving a deficit of 43.46 billion dollar. (OPEC Report: March 21, 22). To our Union, there is no better time to end the madness of petrol importation than now.
“Finally, as political activities are hitting up, it has become obvious that the same political Actors that have brought us anguish, hunger, pains, death, social and economic woes are seriously preparing to return to power. We wish to state that it will no longer be business as usual. We wish to reiterate our earlier call to all our members across the Country to ensure they register and obtain their PVCs and wait for further directive from the Leadership of the Union as Nigerian Workers’ are prepared to take back their country from the economic buccaneers.”