The Nigerian Medical and Health Workers Union has chastised the Federal Government for the ongoing strike in the country’s public tertiary institutions.
The union, on the other hand, supported the university-based unions in their strike.
The union also states that if the government fails to resolve the issue within a reasonable time frame, it will not hesitate to declare a solidarity strike in support of the unions.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Non-Academic Staff Union, the Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals, Research Institute and Associated Institutions; and the National Association of Academic Technologists had embarked on strike to press home their demands on the implementation of the Memorandum of Action signed in December 2020 on funding for the revitalisation of public universities.
Other demands are renegotiation of the 2009 agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution; the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, unpaid earned allowances, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears; among others.
In a press statement signed by the MHWUN’s National President, Biobelemoye Josiah, and the Acting Secretary-General, Auwalu Kiyawa, the union said it is disheartening that the government’s actions and response had been more of “motion without movement.”
According to the union, “No responsible government would close down its public tertiary institutions in this 21st century because of patriotic demands for better funding of its universities and good welfare for its teaching and non-teaching staff. This is shameful.
“The Leadership of the MHWUN 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 on 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 the government do the right thing and bring back these children to the classroom.
“We condemn in strong terms the lethargic attitude of the 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 to implement without further delay all the agreements it had entered with the unions.”
Similarly, SSANU’s National President, Mohammed Ibrahim, urged members of the union to remain resolute.
“While we expect the leaders of our nation to make concerted efforts in living up to our expectations, we, as individuals, must take responsibility for our safety and be security conscious in our daily movements and endeavors,” Ibrahim said.