By Appolos Christian
Laboratories in public universities across the country are gathering dust following the insistence of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) to continue with the strike action it embarked on since December 4, 2017.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, NAAT President, Comrade Sani Suleiman said there has been total compliance by its members in all the universities.
He said the union which embarked on the strike with other sister unions, which includes Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has held several meetings with the government, including ministers of education and House of Representatives committee on education, but has not yielded positive result.
He said “we have sent national monitoring team to all the universities and the result we got as far as the strike is concerned is encouraging and so we will continue with the strike until we hear something favourable from the government”
Meanwhile, the union also at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting accused the government of apparent insensitivity to the agitations of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) Unions of NAAT, NASU and SSANU to have lingered up till now, without a show of concern.
In a communique signed NAAT General Secretary, Comrade Iyoyo Hamilton, the NEC of the union resolved to continue with the strike saying by its attitude, the union wonders how much importance if any, the government attaches to Education.
They therefore called on the government to do the needful, so that the unions may call off or suspend the strike action.
The communique reads further, “NAAT observes with dismay, the extremely slow pace by which the federal government is handling the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/NAAT Agreement for Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics. We urge government to embark upon the renegotiation exercise with the seriousness it deserves.”
Reacting to other national issues, the union frowned at the continuous epileptic fuel supply situation and the attendant long queues at filling stations across the country.
It stated that this has lingered for too long, adding that the resultant adverse effects have been increase in transport fares, increase in food prices as well as other goods and services, leading to excruciating hardship on the populace. It therefore called on government to take urgent steps to address the situation permanently.
The union meanwhile commended the government in its efforts aimed at diversifying the economy through agriculture, stressing that available records from the National Bureau of statistics indicate steady decline in importation of some food items, which means progress in the direction of self-sufficiency in food production.
“Government is hereby advised to maintain focus, such that the result is positively felt by the populace through cheap or affordable food prices,” it stated.