Tertiary Institutions In Niger Embark On Indefinite Strike

By MAIRIGA Juliana, Minna

Niger state tertiary institutions with exception to the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai have embarked on an indefinite strike following the failure of the state government to meet its demands after a three days warning strike.

The institutions affected include the Niger state Polytechnic, Zugeru, Justice Fati Lami Abubakar College of Legal and General Studies, the Niger state College of Education, Minna and Niger state College of Agriculture, Mokwa.

The Chairman of the Committee of Unions in Niger state owned Tertiary Institutions (CUNOTI),  Comrade Baba Haruna who spoke to newsmen in Minna said that the Unions had earlier issued a 21days ultimatum and embarked on a three days warning strike stating that the lack of progress in the negotiation with representatives of government led to the strike action.

He declared that, “all tertiary institutions owned by the state are closed indefinitely with no exception whatsoever. For clarity, the strike action shall affect all the core programmes been run by the institutions, Consultancy services, IJMB programme, all affiliated programmes and staff schools owned by the Institutions.”

According to the Chairman, the government were not sincere during the negotiation process and only want to halt the strike action in order to save their reputation saying, “sadly, because Niger state government cared less about the strike ultimatum, it waited until the 21st day before calling for a talk.

“Yes a talk, instead of negotiating by way of addressing the listed demands holistically, or at least make an offer on some of the demands, the representatives of the government which include the Head of Service, simply submitted that the demands were receiving attention and suggested that the proposed strike be stopped without issuing any form of documented agreement. This was how the inaction, lack of sincerity and nonchalant attitude of the government representatives led the Unions in Niger state owned Tertiary Institutions into the indefinite strike action”, he added.

The demands of the Unions, according to the Chairman, include, addressing infrastructural decay and inadequate security in the various tertiary institutions, full implementation of the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Salary Structure (CONPCASS) and Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDDISS), employment of additional staff in areas with deficit, domestication and gazetting of 65years retirement age for staff of tertiary institutions, immediate implementation of all pending promotions, immediate payment of accrued promotion arrears and assent to the earlier bill! Of 7.5 per cent Contributory Pension Scheme.

The CUNOTI Secretary General, Salihu Mohammed Rijau said the struggle revolved around better welfare package and working environment adding that despite the series of letters forwarded to the government regarding the matter, nothing was done about it.

Rijau who appealed to the students and their guardians for their support and understanding stated that CUNOTI is not unaware of the consequences of industrial action on the students but the strike had to be done to press in their demands.

He however said that their doors remain open for dialogue when the government representatives are ready to negotiate,

“We are not interested in strike but the government’s body language showed that they cared less about our plight. We are open for dialogue and we would consider our stands if the government comes up with documented agreement”, he further stated.


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