The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union have said they no longer have confidence in the Federal Government.

This was in reaction to the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman’s interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday night, where he said that SSANU and NASU would only receive half of their withheld salaries, pending President Bola Tinubu’s approval.

Mamman said, “No, it has not been approved. There is a court judgment on ‘No work, no pay’. ASUU getting four months’ pay was a discretion and decision on the part of the President. So, it doesn’t automatically transfer (to NASU and SSANU) but the matter is under consideration.”

While speaking on what date SSANU and NASU would get their pay, the minister said, “I don’t think it is safe to put a time on it but it’s safer to say that we are on it and we are pushing.”

JAC of SSANU and NASU ended a one-week warning strike on March 24, 2024, over its withheld salaries.

Their salaries were withheld when the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari invoked a ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy against the Academic Staff Union of Universities and SSANU who embarked on a strike that lasted eight months and four months, respectively,  in 2022.

JAC of SSANU and NASU since March 2024 called the attention of the government to its exclusion from the payment of the withheld salaries when ASUU was paid in February.\

Responding to the minister’s interview, the National President, SSANU/NASU, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, said the claim by the minister that there was no approval to pay SSANU/NASU was disappointing.

Ibrahim said, “I am disappointed in the Minister of Education, who said there was no approval for the payment of SSANU/NASU withheld salaries. We met in January in the presence of all vice chancellors and union leaders and they promised to pay us. He is talking about a court case, meanwhile we didn’t go to court, we suspended our strikes after reaching an agreement with Mallam Adamu Adamu (ex-Minister of Education).”

He added that the government should go ahead with its decision on payment.

“If that is what they have made up their minds to pay, they should just pay us. Why is he not categorical about the time to pay? We are losing confidence in them. At the appropriate time, we will send a reply.  Our strike followed due process. At this moment, I have no confidence in the minister. If he is coming up with this, we are taken aback by his comments on Channels TV. This was not what we were told in November 2023 and January. He said the Presidency has granted the waiver. We are not impressed by the chameleon-like treatment; we’re not happy with this government.”

The SSANU/NASU President said he recalled that the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement on October 20, 2023, said the Federal Government had granted a waiver for partial payment of withheld salaries for all educational unions.

It read, “Invoking the Principle of the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy, President Bola Tinubu has approved the partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” order that was instituted against striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities following the commencement of their eight-month industrial action, which began on February 14, 2022, and was terminated on October 17, 2022.

“The President has directed the grant of the waiver with a mandatory requirement that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment must secure a Document of Understanding establishing that this exceptional waiver granted by the President will be the last one to be granted to the Academic Staff Union of Universities and all other Education Sector Unions.”