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Factual Reportage

Members of the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, MOUAU, branch, on Wednesday began a three day warning strike in accordance with the directive from the the Ibeji Nwokoma-led National Executive Council of the union over the non-payment of over five months withheld salaries.

President Bola Tinubu had in October 2023 directed that the university workers who embarked on a prolonged strike in 2022 be paid their withheld salaries, which NAAT’s salaries culminating to 5 and half months.

The administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari had invoked the ‘No work, no pay’ policy, which meant that the university workers were not paid salaries within the period they were on strike.

Declaring the warning strike on Wednesday, Chairman of NAAT MOUAU, Ifeanyi Kenneth Nwaji, who doubles as the South East Zonal Public Relations Officer of NAAT, said some members of the association in Abia State have died of hunger and sickness because of their withheld salaries.

He noted that Federal Government had before the suspension of the ASUU strike agreed that no worker would be victimized.

However, he regretted that the same Federal Government has gone contrary to the agreement.

The workers who protested from the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, CEET, through the university boulevard to the Administration Building to the MOUAU gate, chanted songs, calling on Tinubu to intervene as the economic crisis in the country, coupled with non-release of the money, has sent some of their members to the grave.

They warned that they will embark on a further seven days warning strike, and an indefinite strike, if nothing was done after the warning strike.

The association cried out that members of a sister union in the university system were paid their withheld four months salaries while NAAT members, who are owed more than five months’ pay, were excluded from the payment.

They warned that NAAT should not be blamed if an indefinite strike disrupts Nigeria’s academic system again.

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