The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday stormed the National Assembly in Abuja in protest over the prolonged strike by university workers across the country.
The protest was in continuation of a similar demonstration held in various states of the Federation, except in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Wednesday’s demonstration began at the Unity Fountain while the protesters marched through the Shehu Shegari Way to the assembly complex.
Among those physically present were the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke; and the immediate past President of the academic union, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, among others.
University workers, including members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), had gone on strike for various reasons.
Lecturers in government-owned universities – affiliated with ASUU – embarked on a nationwide strike on February 14 over the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the government as the payment system in the university sector, as well as poor funding of universities, and non-payment of salaries and allowances of some of their colleagues, among other issues.
Since the industrial action began, several negotiations between the union and the government have ended in deadlock.
While the government is still struggling to resolve the issues raised by the striking lecturers, the crisis in the public universities may not end soon as other university unions have also voiced their concerns.
Wabba warned the Federal Government to brace for a three-day nationwide strike if the crisis is left unresolved.
“The protest first is to show our concern and to also call for urgent action to resolve the issues. We took two levels of decision,” he said while highlighting the importance of the protest.
“First is the national protest to call for attention and for the issues to be resolved promptly, and the next level is three days national warning strike if nothing has happened after the protest to show our grievances.”