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Protesting UNN Workers Vow to Disrupt Saturday’s Matriculation

From  Ignatius  Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Academic and socio-activities were on Wednesday paralysed at the university of Nigeria Nsukka UNN, as the workers union operating under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC), staged a peaceful protest over  non payment of earned allowances owed by universities across Nigeria, just as they vowed to disrupt the 2018 matriculation exercise scheduled to hold on Saturday.

The UNN workers numbering over 2000, who were chanting solidarity songs, marched through various faculties of the university, warning staff and students to disregard the planned matriculation slated to hold  next Saturday in the university.

Addressing staffers of the university, the JAC chairman Mr. Paul  Erua said that the scheduled matriculation would not hold as Senior Staff Association of Nigerian universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff of  Universities ( NASU) and National Association of Technologies ( NATS) that made up the Joint Action Committee has been on national strike for the past one month over non implementation of the MoUs  which the national body of JAC signed with federal government for three consecutive times, “but federal government reneged in its implementation since 2009 till date.

Mr.  Erua insisted  that there is no going back on the strike till the federal government do the needful by paying the earned allowances to the last kobi, adding that the management of  UNN, went ahead to fix a date for the university matriculation when workers are on strike using the method of divide and rule to force workers to the side of the management.

According to him, “we are warning all faculty officers of the university not to attempt engaging themselves to the so called matriculation  as JAC would not hesitate to sanction any of her members found involved in the matriculation on Saturday February 10th 2018.

He said that the strike is total and can not be sabotaged by any faculty officer no matter how highly placed, explaining that students should ignore the matriculation as most of the first year structures have not been giving registration numbers while majority of the students are still grappling to pay school fees and others together with the UNN compulsory laptop per student of the university.

“SSANU, NASU and  NATS are more relevant than management of the university, in that respect we can not succumb to threats and cheapen the unions that has been in existence before the arrival of Prof. Benjamin  Ozumba as vice chancellor of the university” he said.

Mr. Erua accused  the vice chancellor, Professor Benjamin Ozumba, of using all manner of antics’  to demoralize the JAC members, adding that he has  arrested him twice without any cogent reasons to justify his action, noting that the strike is a national issue, but wondered why Ozumba decided to take it personal.

“Police recently invaded my house around 3pm, pulled down my window and forced themselves in, tear gassed my house and my wife fainted while I was bundled away with my two sons who were later released while I was taken to Enugu state commissioner of Police Dan Mallam Mohammed who brokered peace but the vice chancellor bluntly refused to adhere to it.

The Enugu CP he said, noted that” there is a serious gap between the management and the unions and the management as a matter of necessity should call the unions for a meeting and dialogue with them.”there was some allowances unpaid to staff, the management should go and pay” he quoted the. CP.

Erua, disclosed that that the CP gave the advice on January 24th, 2018 and up till now the vice chancellor refused to convene the meeting instead went ahead to schedule for matriculation of first year students of the university, adding that the matriculation is the statutory functions of the non teaching staff and we have sensitized and warned members not to appear for the matriculation because of the ongoing national strike across universities in the country.

“If the matriculation holds, there will be break down of law and order. Please warn the vice chancellor to desist from holding the matriculation on Saturday to avert wrath of the workers” he noted.

While the peaceful protest was ongoing students jumped out from lecture halls and joined the exercise in solidarity with the workers, rejoicing over the cancellation of the scheduled matriculation of the university.

All efforts made to get reaction of the university authorities hit the rock, as the mobile phone of the Vice chancellor, and that of the university public Relations officer PRO , were not available during the protest.

 

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