The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have threatened to stay off work over the Federal Government’s order to stop payment of salaries of teachers of University Demonstration Primary Schools (UDPS).
In registering their displeasure, hundreds of the union members, led by its National Vice-President, Eastern region, Leku Ador, staged a protest on Friday, June 26, at the University of Port Harcourt campus in Choba, Rivers State.
According to Ador, the union is reacting to a circular which directed Vice-Chancellors of federal universities to stop accommodating UDPS teachers in universities emolument structure.
“Recently, we received a circular from the Federal Ministry of Education with intent to disengage from the funding of UDPS in the country.
“National Salaries and Wages Commission together with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the Ministry of Education were part of our negotiation in SSANU-Federal Government 2009 agreement.
“This agreement contained, among others, that government will continue to fund UDPS-Staff schools in our various federal universities,” he said.
He pointed that the result of the move will be a hike in school fees and sack of teachers as private operators of the schools might not retain them.
Ador added that university lecturers, other staff members and indigenes from host communities send their children and wards to the UDPS as its fees are affordable.
The lecturers queried why government would withdraw funding for the UDPS and not extend same to Command schools of the Navy, Army, Air Force and Unity Schools.
“Teachers in Demonstration Primary Schools have the same appointment letters like other staff in the university, and so, why would government single them out and leave others?
“Command schools which take far more funding from the Federal Government are not in that report which only points to marginalisation of our teachers.
“It will be wrong for government to reduce cost of governance by retrenching workers, especially when salary and allowance of one parliamentarian is equivalent to salaries of 100 teachers combined,” Ador said.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct Federal Ministry of Education to withdraw the circular as failure to do this will force the lecturers to go on indefinite strike.
“The industrial action which will be unprecedented, will not only affect students and the education sector, but will question President Buhari’s promise of creating employment for Nigerians,” the union VP said.