UNIZIK VC Dares SSANU As Security Operatives Foil Protest
By Nedum Noble
The matriculation ceremony of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka was held on Saturday amidst tight security made up of the Army, Department of Security Service (DSS), the Police, Federal Road Safety Commission ( FRSC) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps ( NSCDC ).
The Joint Action Committee of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities ( SSANU ), National Association of Staff of Universities ( NASU ) had on Friday, threatened to disrupt the ceremony over what they described as the management insensitivity to the plight of non-teaching staff of the campus.
The Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Prof.Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku had said that the irate workers had no right whatsoever to disrupt a matriculation ceremony because it was an academic programme.
He pointed out that the matriculation ceremony was being held on a Saturday and that workers do not come to work on Saturdays, stressing that the striking workers had over stepped their bounds and should be tamed.
Our correspondent gathered that Security personnel were all deployed by the institution’s management to prevent the protesting staff of the university from entering the school gate to make good their threats.
The protesting staff of the institution under the auspices of Joint Action Committee of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities ( SSANU ), National Association of Staff of Universities ( NASU ) as well as National Association of Academic Technologists ( NAT ) of the campus were stopped at the gate amidst solidarity songs.
They insisted that the university management should desist from treating non-teaching staff as slaves and second class citizens .
Addressing journalists on the plight of the workers, chairperson of JAC NAU branch comrade Njideka Nwangwu said the management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka was not fair to non-academic staff alleging that the management has withheld their hazard allowance on the ground that they were not entitled to such money .
Nwangwu stated that the union was vehemently kicking against all forms of marginalisation meted out on non-teaching staff in Unizik .
She lamented that two of the union’s members have gone blind on account of the functions they performed in the office adding that the federal government has released their hazard allowance but accused the university management of sitting on their harzard allowance .
Nwangwu also noted that the national body of the union made it clear that the non-teaching staff of Nigerian universities must be given their rightful position in the nation’s university system stressing that the union’s apex body will invade Nnamdi Azikiwe University as well as all other universities refusing to pay entitlements to non-academic staff .
According to her, the actions of the university management shows that it delibrately declined paying workers’ harzard allowance stressing that no amount of security pressure or threat would preclude the unions from fighting for their rights .
She faulted the Vice Chancellor’s position on matriculation being purely an academic function stressing that it was not true as matriculation was purely a university function involving non-teaching and teaching staff of the university.
Nwangwu also accused the management of rendering non-academic staff redundant while academic staff undertook administrative and clerical duties emphasizing that no amount of intimidation nor molestation would stop the strikiing workers from pursuing their demands.
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