Niger universities paralysed as teachers, students strike

Niger University students. Photo credit: Africanews

Lecturers and students in Niger have launched a week-long strike, paralysing universities across the country in protest over non-payment of salaries and grants.

Industrial action earlier this month had already complicated the start of the academic year, disrupting studies in the capital, Niamey and across the country.

“We have begun a seven-day strike to demand the payment of salary arrears’and research grants,” said head of Niger’s union of teachers and researchers (SNECS), Bakasso Sahabi.

“We have begun a seven-day strike to demand the payment of salary arrears’ and research grants.”

He said the strike, which was being widely observed was the continuation of a strike by teachers who observed a three-day stoppage nearly two weeks ago.

Students had also boycotted lessons to demand the payment of overdue grants and the recruitment of more teachers.

According to head of Niamey University’s students union (UENUN), Salaou Chaibou, the students are also demanding for more class rooms.

The Minister of education, Mohamed Ben Omar acknowledged there had been a problem with salary payments, but insisted the problem had been resolved.

“Four months of salary arrears” at Zinder University in central Niger had already been taken care of, Ben Omar told public television on Saturday, saying there was no longer any reason to continue the strike.

H blamed the delay in payment of wages and grants on the country’s military expenditure which had “ranked in” all the treasury’s revenues.