Fear, tension as JUSUN, NARD, ASUP, others shut down

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Amid the ongoing hardship being experienced by Nigerians, some major economic sectors in the country have decided to shut down over the inability of the Federal Government to meet their demands.

In less than a week, about three major sectors embarked on indefinite strike actions to register their grievances against the government.

This is happening few days after President Muhammadu Buhari departed Nigeria for the United Kingdom for medical check-up.

Following ‘unproductive’ efforts by the FG to stop the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) from embarking on its proposed strike, the association, on Thursday, April 1st commenced an industrial action, shutting down the medical sector indefinitely.

NARD alleged that the Federal Government had reneged in the agreements it entered with the doctors.

The aggrieved doctors’ agitations include the non-payment of salaries of three to five months of some house officers and non-recruitment of house officers.

Others are abolishment of the bench fees for doctors undergoing training in other hospitals, non-payment of National Minimum Wage and hazard allowances.

NARD also demanded an upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers.

The action became worrisome on Monday when the resident doctors ordered members at the COVID-19 isolation centres to join the nationwide strike, shutting down the entire health sector.

The NARD further threatened to impose a fine of N5m on any of its branches that fails to join the strike.

Similarly, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), on Tuesday shut down the judicial system in the country as the union embarked on an indefinite strike with all courts across the nation locked up.

According to the national leadership of JUSUN, the strike action is to press home their demand for the financial autonomy of the judiciary.

A circular signed by JUSUN’s General Secretary, I. M. Adetola, directed all states and zonal heads of the union to comply with the strike.

As Nigerians were trying to comprehend the actions of NARD and JUSUN, figuring out the level of hardship it may further cause, they were confronted with another heartbreaking news of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, proceeding on an indefinite strike.

The union shut down Nigerian Polytechnics on Monday, demanding the implementation of a new salary scheme for polytechnic lecturers.

Leaders of the union led by its president, Anderson Ezeibe, made the declaration shortly after an emergency meeting with the Federal Government officials in Abuja.

Currently, the education sector is down, courts are locked up, hospitals shut down amid threats by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and other unions to also embark on industrial actions.

Recall the recent threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, that they are ready to shut down the country if the National Assembly does not rescind its plan to remove minimum wage from the exclusive bill.

A coalition of NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), and several other groups staged a coordinated protests across several states in the country to express their grievances over the move by the lawmakers.

The union had several times threatened industrial actions over an increase in petroleum price and the non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage in some states.

The Agriculture sector is not left out in this shutdown, even though it may not be in form of a strike action. There is now a general fear that going to the farm is almost synonymous with suicide due to the activities of bandits and the killer herdsmen attacking innocent farmers across the country.

Recall that the Governor of Benue State was recently attacked by suspected herdsmen along Makurdi-Gboko road while visiting his farm.

It is no longer news that most farmers no longer visit their farms for the fear of attack by herdsmen or bandits.

This has plunged the nation into an acute food shortage, making life miserable for the masses.

Some concerned Nigerians who reacted to the ugly trend blamed President Buhari’s administration for not being proactive in tackling crisis during its warning stage.

A resident of Lugbe in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr Thomas Anigbo told DAILY POST correspondent that the country is facing unusual challenges currently, stressing that until the government takes proactive steps in ending the economic and security crisis, “the worst may happen.

“It’s unfortunate that despite the hardship already faced by Nigerians, all these are still happening to worsen the situation.

“The current security situation in the country is enough to send everyone into mourning.

“Even those employed and trained to secure our lives and property are no longer secured.

“If the army and the police can be running from being killed then what would happen to the vulnerable Nigerians?”

Also, a final year student of the Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Miss Rose Ene Mathew, expressed shock over the decision of ASUP to shut down polytechnics.

“Despite what COVID-19 did to us in 2020, the union has decided to keep us at home again.

“I just pray that they don’t prolong the strike because it will not be funny”, she said.

Mr Reno Omokri, a former media aide to Nigerian ex-President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan also blamed the Buhari administration for the country’s current predicament.

In a post via his official Facebook page on Tuesday, Reno listed some of the challenges causing tension in the country.

“Today, judiciary workers went on strike, last week, doctors went on strike, polytechnic workers are on strike.

“There was a prison break in Imo, with 1800 escapees, bandits taking over 100 communities in Shiroro Niger.

“Communities in Sokoto now pay taxes to bandits.

“An entire village wiped out by herdsmen in Ebonyi.

“Middle Belt Forum threatening to sever links with Arewa.

“The Presidency instigating violence against Bishop Hassan Kukah

USSD crisis between MTN and CBN/Commercial Banks destabilising the economy.

“And Nigeria’s leader, Muhammadu Buhari, the same man who banned foreign rice, and closed Nigeria’s borders is on medical tourism in London,” he said.

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