Strike: Disrupting Academic Activities Dangerous, NANS, NAPS tells Tinubu

By Olumide Olusegun

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) have raised concerns over the peril of halting academic activities due to the ongoing disagreement over minimum wage.

They urged the Federal Government and the Labour Unions to swiftly resolve their differences to prevent further strike actions that would affect Nigerians.

Both student associations emphasized the necessity for a swift resolution to prevent the adverse effects of a strike on the educational system and the overall well-being of the populace.

Speaking in an interview with NATIONAL TELESCOPE, the President of NANS, Comrade Lucky Emonefe, stressed the importance of dialogue between the government and Labour.

He highlighted the adverse effects of a prolonged strike on the populace, advocating for a fair wage increase ranging between N100,000 and N150,000.

Emonefe also emphasised the need for compromise to avert the detrimental consequences of a strike on the economy and educational sector.

He said, “We want the Federal Government to listen to Labours pleas, while Labour should equally negotiate. Both parties should shift ground. What Labour is saying is high but what the Federal Government is equally proposing is too low. But if they continue like this it is the masses that will suffer.

“N60,000 is very low. We are looking at something between N100,000 and N150,000. NANS’s position is that everyone should come to the negotiating table. The government should take it higher while Labour should also come down in their negotiation.

“The strike is not a solution. If the strike continues it will shut down the economy and will disrupt academic activities. It will be too bad to go through such a situation of having the schools shut because of the strike.”

Similarly, NAPS National President, Comrade Ridwan Munirudeen, supported and warned against disagreement that would lead to a strike.

He also underscored the urgency for the government to address the escalating cost of living by promptly addressing the minimum wage issue.

Munirudeen urged for dialogue and compromise to prevent the disruption of academic activities, emphasising the government’s responsibility to ensure students’ uninterrupted access to education.

“We want the government to move into action, dialogue with them, and reach comprise so that the strike will not affect students because it will not be good to have students back home when they are supposed to be in school. The strike is not an option.

“I think the government has also tried by offering N60,000 but I will suggest that they round it up to N100,000.”

How Labour Suspended Strike

Meanwhile, following an extraordinary joint national executive council meeting in Abuja, Labour unions have agreed to suspend their industrial action for one week

This decision, confirmed by TUC President Festus Osifo, comes amidst ongoing disputes over a new minimum wage and the recent increase in electricity tariff.

Osifo, speaking to Channels Television, announced the temporary relaxation of theindustrial action, effective immediately, pending the issuance of a formal communique.

The strike, initiated on Monday, resulted in the disruption of vital sectors such as education, commerce, healthcare, and aviation, while also plunging the nation into darkness due to the shutdown of the national grid

The labor action stemmed from the failure to reach an agreement on a new minimum wage before the May 31 deadline, despite ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government. Labour, rejecting multiple government proposals, including the latest offer of N60,000, stood firm on their demand for N494,000 as the new minimum wage.

In a bid to avert further escalation, government officials, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, along with TUC and NLC representatives, engaged in extensive discussions that extended late into the night.

While specific details of the resolution are yet to be disclosed, it was revealed that the government has committed to offering a wage higher than N60,000 and to convene regular meetings with the labor unions. The NLC and TUC are set to convene to determine their next course of action in the coming days.

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