By Joan Nwagwu
The striking non-teaching staff of the Nigerian universities have threatened to disrupt the 2018 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB) Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), which will hold from March 9.
Mr Samson Ugwoke, Chairman, Joint Action Committee (JAC), Non-Teaching Staff of the Nigerian Universities, made the threat at a meeting of the National JAC with the Principal Branch Officers on Wednesday in Abuja.
Sen Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, held a conciliatory meeting with the Non-Teaching Staff of Nigerian Universities on Tuesday, urging the unions to call off the strike.
The non-teaching staff of Nigerian universities are made of the Non Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU) National Association of Academic Technologists, (NAAT).
Ugwoke said that the threat has become imperative as the Federal Government has continued to renege on the agreement it entered with the unions.
According to him, since our strike continues, JAC has decided that no activities will take place in the universities.
“This is because if we are on strike and you expect our members to come and supervise JAMB or come to operate their machines like the computers, that means we are breaking the strike already.
“JAC has also decided that to withdraw their assistance. They would not go to work. So all I know is that as long as we are on strike, JAC has decided that there will be no exam.
“Our members will not participate and they will make sure that the exam does not hold in the universities. That is the position of JAC, ‘’ he said.
Ugwoke also called on the Federal Government to do the needful.
He further said that JAC has also decided to hold a mega mass protest rally on Thursday, March 8, to sensitise the public on alleged corruption and the social injustices in the Nigerian university system.
He noted that the problem of corruption would continue to cripple the university system, unless the Federal Government takes a decisive step to tackle the menace.
Ugwoke also said that this has become very worrisome, because corruption has continued to increase, with the consequent intimidation, harassment and victimisation of whistleblowers, who expose the rot and decadence in our universities.
Mr Sani Suleiman, President of NAAT, said the rally was to sensitise and solicit support from Nigerians on the way and manner that the administrators of the universities are handling important issues and also the injustices against their members.
“So, we thought that we need to allow Nigerians to know what exactly is happening and why we are still on strike; this is what we are trying to drive through with the rally.
“If you can remember, sometimes ago, we were on strike in 2015 and then 2017, and came up with Memorandum of Understanding.
“We agreed with the Federal Government on 12 items, and till date no one has be resolved or implemented.
“Even though we have had series of meetings with the government on the issues, nothing tangible has come out of it.
“We thought that by the time we educate Nigerians on this, certainly we would have some sympathisers among the government officials and well-meaning Nigerians, ‘’ he said.