FG’s Disobedience To Court Order: SSANU Begins 3-Day Nationwide Protest, Today …NASS Staff Commence Strike, Today, Threaten Budget Presentation …As CUPP Urges NASS To Boycott Budget Presentation

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike (right),with popular musician, David Adeleke (Davido), organiser of Plugged, Chima Aguma (left) and others, during Davido's visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, will today, commence three-day nationwide protest over the Federal Government’s disobedience to court judgment on staff schools and also the inability of government to keep to agreements especially on Earned Allowance.
The resolution to embark on the protest was reached at the 35th regular National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.
SSANU in the resolution signed by its National President, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke and the National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Abdussobur Salaam, accused the Federal Government of disobeying judgment of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, that had two years ago asked that teachers in University Staff Schools that were sacked by government should be reinstated.
The union accused the federal government of being adamant in honouring the judgment to recall the sacked teachers of staff schools.
SSANU President, Comrade Ugwoke, further said that the government has not released the N8 billion Earned Allowance it promised to them.
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige had as part of the resolution reached at a conciliation meeting on March 13, 2018, announced that the Federal Government will pay the three non teaching staff N8 billion as their Earned Allowance.
But several months after the agreement was reached, the money was yet to be released and SSANU said that the delay in the payment had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, and has also become a source of embarrassment for the leadership.
The resolution read, “The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education had informed the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU via a letter dated 9th August 2018, that approval had been given for the release of Eight Billion Naira being payment of Earned Allowances for Non- Teaching Staff in the Universities and requested for templates for the payments to the unions.”
Continuing, it said, “it appears that the letters being sent to the unions are a delay ploy by the Federal Ministry of Education as the letters in themselves are needless, because the unions had always made their positions known since the irregular disbursement of N23 billion to ASUU in 2017.”
On the technical dismissal of members in the University Staff schools, it said “the status of the workers in the University Staff Schools remained the same despite the National Industrial Court ruling of December 5, 2016 which had ruled that the workers in the University Staff Schools are employees of the Federal Government as the Staff Schools remain an integral part of the University system.”
SSANU, said it was unfortunate that the federal government has continued to show apathy and disinterest in all other aspects of the Memoranda of Understanding reached between it and the union.
“Members have been fully mobilised to participate in the protests, while branches are advised to carry along the media and the security agencies accordingly,” it stated.
The union in the resolution stated that it had comprehensively reviewed the status of the various MoU’s signed between it and the Federal Government in respect of the actualization of the 2009 agreement reached by the duo.
Noting that another letter was received dated 24th October 2018 from the ministry requesting for a schedule of payment from the unions, it said, “SSANU in particular and JAC (Joint Action Committee) in general, had always maintained that disbursement of funds for allowances are not within the purview of unions and that the Government rather than request for templates or schedules from the unions, should rather rely on the submissions of the Universities on Earned Allowances as earlier sent to the Ministry and the NUC.
According to the union, “This is because only the University authorities (Councils and Managements) can determine which staff is entitled to what allowance, as that is what makes it earned.”
SSANU said that the delay in the payment had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, while it had also become a source of embarrassment for the leaderships.
It also said that the Federal Government has continued to show disdain and contempt for Court Rulings, the case of the Staff School workers being an example and that the members of staff domiciled in the University Staff Schools, numbering over two thousand, have been subjected to trauma, insecurity and denials of salaries, some going to upward of a year, a situation that the union cannot continue to accept.
Meanwhile, Workers of the National Assembly under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria have said there is no going back on their planned strike scheduled to begin today.
President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly last week to notify the legislature of his intention to lay the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday.
As the budget would be laid on Wednesday, the National Assembly has planned to go on Christmas and New Year break on Thursday.
PASAN has, however, vowed to embark on the industrial action, warning that workers would not be on duty when the President would lay the budget.
The workers on December 4, 2018 shut down the National Assembly by picketing the chambers and paralysing legislative activities.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in their intervention, had issued a three-day ultimatum to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori, to address the issues.
The House of Representatives on December 6, 2018, summoned the Minister of Finance, Aisha Mohammed, over the non-release of funds appropriated to the National Assembly, part of which would be used to finance the new Consolidated Salary Structure approved for its workers.
Mohammed was expected to explain the delay on the non-implementation of the 2018 Appropriation Act which captures the 28 per cent increment of salaries under the new structure.
But on December 7 when the ultimatum issued to the clerk expired, PASAN threatened to paralyse activities of federal legislature again, if the management failed to meet their demands.
The Chairman of PASAN, Mr Musa Bature, had said, “We hereby reiterate that the proposed indefinite industrial action that will ground all legislative activities of the National Assembly (will hold),” adding that the workers would down tool from December 17.
The minister on Friday appeared before the Committee on Finance where she said no specific date could be stated for the release of the legislature’s allocation.
Speaking with our correspondent on Friday after the meeting between the minister and the lawmakers, Bature said issues raised by the workers had been partially addressed.
Asked to confirm when the strike would begin, Bature said, “It is Monday; we are starting on Monday. Four days warning strike.”
When asked if he was aware that the President would be at the National Assembly on Wednesday to lay the budget, the PASAN boss replied, “We are not stopping him from coming. But the staff of the National Assembly will not be available. We are not going to work. The legislators can go to work but there will be no staff to work for them.”
When asked if the issues had been addressed, he said, “Not really. Half of them have been attended to while others have not addressed. Some have been attended to but the main ones have not been attended to.”
Bature said, “The condition of service (bill) has been attended to (passed) but the Senate and House have different versions but at least they have passed it and they will meet at the conference to harmonise it. The nomination of the NASC board, they have done their part and transmitted (it) to the President for assent. Those are the two issues that have been attended to.”
Also Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, has called on members of the National Assembly, to boycott presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement by its first national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, yesterday, the coalition said the step was necessary to show resentment to the Buhari administration, which it accused of impunity, non-implementation of past budgets, abuse of state institutions and refusal to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, among others.
Ugochinyere said the call for a boycott of the session was hinged on the President’s refusal to substantially implement previous budgets from 2015 to 2018, “which led to rise in poverty;” and “his refusal to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill that will guarantee free and fair elections.”
The statement read, “The opposition coalition holds the view that sitting down and listening to a man who has led several assaults on the institutions of our nation’s constitutional governance is tacit support to his many sins against our nation.
“This is a man who has refused to implement previous budgets passed since 2015 till date; a man who has committed gross misconduct and obstruction of justice by refusing to obey judgments of courts, including ECOWAS Court; a man who disrespects and treats like tissue paper resolutions of parliament.
“This is a man who promised to fix the economy but turned Nigeria into the poverty capital of the world; a man who commands security forces that have no respect for the lives of the citizens; a man who has failed to fight corruption squarely and fairly but rather protects the biggest looters of our nation’s treasury under his watch.
“He does not deserve the company of pure democrats found in the midst of the opposition because such attendance will be abiding and supporting the reign of impunity of Mr. President, who deserves an impeachment notice for his many acts of gross misconduct, incompetence and obstruction of justice and not attendance at his budget speech.”