Striking workers protest government's silence

Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education

Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education

Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Workers of Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, Iyanomo, Edo State, under the aegis of Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes (ASURI), Monday held a peaceful demonstration to press home their demands.

They said the demonstration which is in conjunction with other research institutes across Nigeria, is to strengthen their ongoing nationwide strike which began on November 14 last year.

Their demands include the payment of 12 months salary increase arrears, implementation of 65 years retirement age, payment of peculiar and earned allowances, poor funding of research, establishment of National Research Institutes Commission (NATIVISM), immediate release of Research Institutes’ Condition of Service and withdrawal of non-profit skipping circular.

The unions, in a joint statement signed by Comrade Elijah Obasuyi and Dr. Fredrick Akpobome, Chairmen of NASU and ASURI respectively, frowned at what they called government’s lack of concern and insensitivity to the operations of research institutes in Nigeria.

“We wish to express rude shock that the Federal Government can remain unconcerned and be so insensitive to a situation whereby activities in all the research institutes in the country have been paralysed without addressing the situation.

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While accusing the government of double standards, the striking researchers said by its attitude, the government has further confirmed that our government is paying lip service to research and technological development.

“The attitude of government is a confirmation of the fact that the government does not believe in the popular saying that a country can attain technological development in a few years’ time.

They called​ on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently take a positive look at the memo sent to him and grant the needed approvals with a view to ending the ongoing strike by research institutes.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the non implementation of the agreement we reached with the Federal Government in 2010 is the reason we decided to embark on this strike,” the statement said.

They also called on the National Assembly and respected traditional rulers and other well-meaning Nigerians to intervene.