The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has lampooned the Federal Government for once again failing to fulfil its obligations to the union in the wake of its suspension of the almost 3-months old strike action it started in April.
The polytechnic lecturers also decried government’s preferential treatment for their counterparts in the universities – Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) – saying the development only furthers industrial ‘disharmony’ in the tertiary sector.
FROM LEFT: MINISTER OF EDUCATION, PROF. RUQAYYATU RUFA’I; EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION (NUC), PROF. JULIUS OKOJIE; SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION (SGF), SEN. ANYIM PIUS ANYIM AND MINISTER OF LABOUR, CHIEF CHUKWUEMEKA NWOGU
ASUP President, Comrade Chibuzo Asomugha in a press statement said the union’s suspension of its strike was based on the understanding that government would meet certain obligations which up till now, has not been fulfilled.
“The situation is that ASUP’s suspension of her strike was predicated on the understanding that the government was to meet certain obligations,” Mr. Asomugha stated.
According to him, “at the suspension of the strike on 17th July, we had generously granted government one month, as against the two weeks it demanded, to meet its avowed obligations.”
He added: “Unfortunately, two weeks after the expiration of ASUP’s very generous consideration, the only obligation which the government has managed to meet in part is the harmonization of the modalities for the migration of the lower cadres of staff. Even in this, the government has not been able to definitely indicate where the attendant arrears will come from.”
Asomugha said other matters which are yet to be settled are completion of the appointment of governing councils in all polytechnics, release of the White Paper on the Visitation to Federal polytechnics, the review of the Federal Polytechnics Act, the commencement of the renegotiation of the FGN/ASUP Agreement due since July 2012, and a Needs Assessment of Nigeria’s polytechnics and proper funding of polytechnics.
Asomugha, who decried government’s adoption of an unfortunate divide and rule approach to higher education in the country, noted that, “Our members are clearly saddened by the seeming deceitful stance of [the] government in its understanding with ASUP that prompted the union to suspend its nearly 3-month strike.
“Lately, [the] government’s whole attention has been focused on the university sector to the total abandonment of the polytechnics and the colleges of education,” he remarked.
“We regard this perspective as unfortunate because, instead of resolving [the] lingering upheaval, it merely stokes the embers of industrial disharmony in the tertiary sector.”
He warned that ASUP may be forced to resume its strike if government refuses to fulfil its obligations.