By Linda Musa
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has in strong terms condemned and re-echoed to the seemingly deaf ears of the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF) to stop the continued usurpation of the functions of the University Governing Council on the promotion of staff of universities.
The Union said if the HoSF continues to direct universities on how, when and the number of persons to be promoted at any given time, it will take all legal means to ensure that its members are not subjected to obnoxious policies, contending that there has not been any time that the Head of Service been part of the promotion of staff of universities.
SSANU also lamented that over 13 federal universities are yet to be paid arrears of the new minimum wage.
These among others were contained in the resolutions reached at the regular national executive council meeting of SSANU which was hosted by the Umaru Musa Yar’adu University, Katsina State.
In the communique read by the national president of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, the association advised the federal government to be proactive in handling the warnings by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency on the looming flood in the 2023 rainy season.
SSANU in the communique decried the unwarranted increase in the pump price and deliberate hoarding of Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, stressing that the avoidable situation has plunged Nigerians into precarious economic situation.
On the usurpation of University Governing Council powers and functions, SSANU said, “The ugly emerging trend of federal government’s incursion and seizing of Federal Universities Governing Council powered and functions was re-appraised on the floor of the NEC.
“Statutorily, Council is the highest and final decision making organ in any university. Some overzealous agents a trying however to truncate this process.
“We now hear of circulars from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, directing universities on how, when and the number of persons that should be promoted at any given time.
“It should be noted that at no time has the Head of Service been part of the promotion of staff of universities. Promotion in the system ends with the Councils of Universitoes, where a representative of the Federal Ministry of Education is also a member.
“Councils of Universities should be allowed to do their work devoid of interference by the Office of the Head of Service or any external agents for that matter. NEC clearly says no to the usurpation of the powers of Council in relation to the promotion of our members in universities and inter-University Centres, and is poised to take all legal means to ensure that our members are not subjected to obnoxious policies.”
On the release of N50 billion for payment of outstanding earned allowances, SSANU said, “NEC in session deliberated on the promise of government to release the sum of N50b for payment of outstanding Earned Allowances to University and inter-university centres. This promise is now overdue. Government is therefore urged to keep to their word and not go their normal way of reneging on their promises to avoid industrial dispute in the system.”
NEC also called on government to ensure that as a matter of urgency, pay the hazard allowances of SSANU members working in University health centres rather than selective payment that is being experienced currently.
“NEC in session expressed further worry over the endless fuel scarcity that has crippled many economic activities and inflicted incalculable pains on Nigerians in addition to the deplorable cash crunch being experienced.
“It is heart rending that in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise and assurances to resolve this problem, the crisis still lingers, leaving motorists in long queues to buy fuel at different cutthroat prices and for long hours.
“NEC noted with worry, the various warnings from the Niverian Meteorological Agency about another round of heavy flooding in many states this year. NEC therefore enjoibs government at all levels to proactively undertake measures to checkmate the impending natural disaster which devastated several homes, roads and farmlands in 2022.”
SSANU also called on the government for the payment of its members withheld four months salary during the nationwide strike.
“It becomes totally amusing and distasteful that government could in spite of the glaring legal compliance by SSANU on this industrial action, still proceeds to withhold salaries of her members,” it said.