Striking workers of the 67 research institutions spread across several Ministries in the country are set for a mass protest on the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to demand the payment of about N9 billion arrears owed them by the government since 2010.
The workers made up of members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) and the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) have been on strike for about 11 weeks to press for the implementation of their agreement with the government.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, chairman of the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Staff Union (JORAISU), and Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Peters Adeyemi said even though the government has acknowledged the legitimacy of the ongoing strike action, they have refused to take any measure aimed at addressing their demands.
Adeyemi said that the National leadership of JORAISU has so far held thirty-three (33) meetings with the Federal Government and one with the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Colleges and Institutions between year 2010 and year 2018 and issued 155 days ultimatum to Government on the matter including the last issued on 30th October, 2017 for which all the Research and Allied Institutions commenced an ongoing strike action on 14th November, 2017.
According to him, these were all geared towards getting the Federal Government to act positively on our demands and expressed shock and disbelief that the Federal Government can remain unconcerned and be so incentive to a situation where all the Research and Allied Institutions in Nigeria have been totally and completely grounded for about 2 months and 22 days without addressing the situation.
According to him, this attitude of Government goes to confirm the fact that the Government does not believe in the idealogy that Nigeria can attain technological development in a few years time, adding that it further show that the government t was paying lip service to research ad technological development in the country.
He said that the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe has informed the unions that government will speedily address the issues in dispute and present a Memo to the Federal Executive Council on the approval of about N9 billion naira required for the payment of the 12 months’ arrears on when they held a meeting in December, 2017.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to take a positive look at the Memo and grant the needed approval to the Memo when presented to him with a view to ending the ongoing strike in the Research and Allied Institutions.
He disclosed that JORAISU leadership have also resolved that since the Federal Government is yet to resolve their demands, the strike should continue and that it must be total and comprehensive as no concession of any sort shall be granted to any Management and Government until the issues in dispute are resolved.