The doors to the lecture rooms in the nation’s polytechnics still remain shut as members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, (ASUP), continue with their indefinite strike.
It will be recalled that the polytechnic teachers down their tools 12 midnight of April 6 in order to press home their demands, and have rebuffed attempt by the Federal Government to persuade them to call off the strike.
National President of ASUP, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe attributed the industrial action to Government’s failure to implement the NEEDS Assessment report of 2014 in the sector as well as the non- release of revitalization fund to the sector despite assurances given by government since 2017.
Mr. Ezeibe also blamed the ongoing strike by the teachers to the failure by government to reconstitute the governing councils of the federal polytechnics as well as many of the state-owned Polytechnics, a development which he said has resulted in the disruption of governance and administrative processes in the polytechnics since May 2020 .
According to Ezeibe, these lapses have “undermined the renegotiation of the union’s 2010 agreement with the government which has been unilaterally suspended by the government for over 2 years. Our union has also continued to demand for the deployment of developed capacity from the sector over the years and the reconstitution of the polytechnics councils in line with the Amendments in the Polytechnics Act”
The ASUP leader also decried the “non-release of the 10 months arrears of minimum wage owed our members in Federal Polytechnics and non-implementation of same in several state-owned institutions. This is despite the presidential directive for the payment of the arrears since December 2019”.
He lamented the “nonpayment of salaries in some state-owned institutions as our members are owed their legitimate emoluments ranging from 5 to 24 months in Abia, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Benue, Plateau as well as the continued victimization of officials of our union as seen in Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, Federal Polytechnic Mubi as well as Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo,”
According to Ezeibe,” the situation has degenerated to clamping down and brazen illegal seizure of the properties of ASUP by the Rector of Federal Polytechnic, Nassarawa.”
He appealed to the government for the establishment of a commission for the sector in order to bridge the gaps in regulatory activities, as well as match the expansion of the sector.
He also condemned the non-implementation of the approved 65 years retirement age in the sector by some state governments and the continued appointment of unqualified persons as rectors of polytechnics in some states
Speaking however on the matter, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, expressed hope that the strike would soon be suspended as according to him, government had begun discussion with the aggrieved polytechnic lecturers. Adamu also said the governing councils have been selected, saying they will be inaugurated soon.