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Police block SSANU and NASU protests

Police block SSANU and NASU protests

The Nigerian Police, Federal Capital Territory Command, on Thursday stopped the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Related Institutions from starting their protest in Abuja.

As soon as the JAC leadership asked the protest members to hand over the letters to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Employment to forward them to the ministers, the FCT Police Commissioner, Benneth Igwe, arrived at Unity Fountain and warned that the protest would not take place.

Accordingly, police used an armoured vehicle and a Hilux van to block entry and exit gates to stop the protest.

No amount of pleas made to the police by the leaders of both unions convinced them to allow the aggrieved members to hold their protest.

Some of the support staff wanted to rebel against police orders, but their superiors calmed them down, ordering them not to do anything that could lead to violence.

Disappointed staff wondered why the police were trying to stop a peaceful protest in a democratic country, describing the action as a bad omen for democracy.

To ensure that the letters reached the appropriate ministries, the JAC management decided to use their vehicles instead of using the initial peaceful protest to go to the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.

Unions have issued an ultimatum, warning that if four months of withheld wages are not paid by next week, they will have no choice but to go on a full-scale strike, closing universities and inter-university centres across the country.

The protesting workers were addressed by SSANU President Mohammed Ibrahim, NASU President Hassan Makolo and NASU Secretary General Peters Adeyemi.