Leaders of the University of Buea Chapter of the National Union of Teachers of Higher Education, SYNES-UB, have suspended indefinitely a strike action initiated on November 21, 2016.
Prof. James Arrey Abangma and Sango Martin, respectively President and Vice President of SYNES-UB, announced the strike suspension in Buea during a press conference on Friday March 24. During the press conference, the duo said they were suspending the strike and not calling it off.
Dr.Abangma said their move to suspend the strike is in order to break the current deadlock to allow government to follow suit by releasing their arrested colleagues, students and implementing the various agreements reached at during the Adhoc Committee meetings.
Responding to a question related to their detained colleagues; Dr. Fontem, Barrister Agbor Balla and others, Abangma said: “I cannot betray my Secretary General, Dr.Fontem Neba. It is the duty of SYNES not to betray any of its members. Barrister Agbor Balla is also one of our members, what most people do not know is that Agbor Balla is a lecturer in UB, we cannot betray them.”
Citing the democratic nature of SYNES Buea Chapter, Abangma said he is not foiling Fontem’s efforts or calling for those arrested not to be released or praising the government. Dr.Abangma says they expect government to restore internet facilities and demilitarise the academic communities. To him, government has the ace to make things return to normalcy.
The SYNES Buea action comes after that of other teachers’ syndicates which called off the strike, yet the strike continues unchanged with parents keeping their children away from school.
Meantime, some members of SYNES Buea who pleaded for anonymity have dismissed the suspension of the strike saying the two SYNES officials have something they don’t want to tell the other hundreds of members. They argue that before joining the strike, a meeting was held with all the members, and ask why Abangma and Sango did not call for a similar meeting before taking any action like suspension of the strike. To them, Abangma and Sango have just joined the TAC and CATTU officials, who, on their own, called off the strike but parents and their children have not heeded it.