The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), has called on the Federal government to urgently attend to some pressing issues that may lead to industrial disharmony in the country’s tertiary education sector.
Among the issues the union listed are nonpayment of withheld 5 months salaries, implementation of the agreement/MOU between the Federal government and NAAT, conclusion of the stalled Nimi Briggs renegotiation, exclusion from the recent 40% salary increment and core curriculum minimum academic standard.
Furthermore, NAAT through its National President, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, who addressed the media, noted that the Union as a way of advancing knowledge in the areas of Science and Technology, NAAT has floated her own journal called TJEST for the benefit of the entire scientific world. The journal Nwokoma said can be accessed through the website; www.tjest.org.ng.
The NAAT National President went on to give a detailed explanation on the issues. He said; “We as members of Academic Technologists in the Nigerian tertiary institutions as critical stakeholders in the area of Science and Technology in Nigeria, wishes to seek for immediate intervention of the outgoing/ incoming administration in the following areas;
“We wish to state here that we are responsible members of the Nigerian society, and that as patriotic citizens, we could not have embarked on any strike but as a last option after several repeated failure by Government to address germane issues concerning the University education sector in the areas of infrastructures, training, research and welfare to which the Government has repeatedly failed to address, hence the reason for the strike action after following due process.
“It may interest you to know that on Wednesday 17th August, 2022, NAAT reached an agreement with the Hon. Minister of Education; Mal. Adamu Adamu in the presence of the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed at the Minister’s office. The agreement was signed by the Minister, the Permanent Secretary on behalf of Federal Government while the President and General Secretary of NAAT signed on behalf of NAAT.
“The Agreement/M.O.U are as follows: Release of enabling circular for CONTISS 14 & 15 for Academic Technologists. Payment of arrears of Occupational hazard Allowance (iii) Payment of six month withheld salaries.FGN offer 23.5% salary percentage increase.Payment of earned allowance (EA) arrears. Salary payment platform. Non-victimization.
“Unfortunately, none of the items contained in the agreement reached including those with timelines of three months have been implemented.”
He also said; “NAAT will like to avail herself this opportunity to sincerely express her condolences with the Federal Government, University of Port-Harcourt and the immediate families of Late Professor Nimi Briggs, who was the serving Chairman of the Federal Government 2009 Renegotiation Committee; we wish to draw the attention of the public to the fact that the 2009 renegotiation has become more of an abandoned project.
“FGN and NAAT have not concluded the renegotiation as claimed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.
“We therefore use this forum to call on FGN to appoint a new Chairman to conclude the renegotiation with NAAT without further delay.”
He added; “NAAT is very concerned with the recent 40% salary increment that has left out members of our Union who are Federal Government employees. This we consider as discriminatory, unjust and unfair and an invitation to industrial crisis.
“We therefore, call on the Government to immediately correct this injustice to members of NAAT by implementing as well as payment of the arrears of 23.5% earlier approved for our members with effect from September, 2022.
“Connected to this, is the approval of N50bn by President Muhammadu Buhari for payment of arrears of Earned Allowance for members of University based Unions which has not been released.”
The Union also said; “Any educational system especially University Education that has the aim and intention to produce well groomed graduates in the areas of Science and Technology without making provisions for its application, adaptation, innovation and demonstration in terms of Practicais and the best approach to derive maximum benefits from its applications; is a programme doomed for failure.
“The University Regulatory Body (NUC) by its conduct and approach has either by omission or commission have removed Academic Technologists from the Nigerian University system, through its conduct in its recent regulatory guideline called CCMAS, where no mention was made about Academic Technologists, nor their roles and functions in the system while the idea about conduct of practicals have been completely deemphasized or removed.
“Even though, the final document is said to be under review; we use this medium to call on FGN particUlarly NUC to as a matter of necessity ensure that practicals and the critical roles of Academic Technologists as one of the tripod upon which University is built upon that is classrooms for Lecturers, library for librarians and Laboratories, Workshops and Studios for Academic Technologists.”
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