Most Polytechnics across the country yesterday were shut down as lecturers commenced indefinite strike action to press home the demand for the implementation of various agreements entered into with the federal government.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, ASUP president, Usman Dutse said the lecturers were forced to down tools as a result of government’s consistent failures in implementing agreements reached in 2010, 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Comrade Dutse said the strike would continue until the federal government shows firm commitment to implement the agreements previously entered into with a view of addressing the demands under contention.
He lamented government’s attitude of always reneging on agreements, stressing that such attitude has forced the union to lose confidence in mere promises.
To this end, Dutse maintained that ASUP was no longer interested in signing any other agreement or memorandum of understanding, but wants to see results from those previously signed with government.
“Members of our union were directed to withdraw their services in a comprehensive and total strike action in all public Polytechnics and Monotechnics in Nigeria effective 12th November, 2018.
“This decision was taken due to the consistent failure of government to implement agreements it willingly signed with our union dating back to 2010 with the resultant effect of a severely derailed sector. Between 2010 and today, our union has been in consistent engagements with governments in Nigeria. These engagements always end in the signing of agreements with different nomenclatures; 2010 FGN/ASUP Agreement, 2014 Memorandum of settlement, 2017 Memorandum of Action.
“This is in addition to several other promises, appeals and assurances from government on the issues in contention. None of the items in these different agreements have been successfully implemented across institutions covered in the sector.
“Our union has been patient and understanding with government. The federal government promised to address the issues before the end of November thinking that something will come out of it but up till now, we don’t have any assurance that there is any commitment from the assurances that government gave us to address our demands.
“Our members will remain at home until we begin to see commitment from government to implement the agreements. We want to see sincerity, focus and commitment; government should be responsible enough to do the needful rather than shift the blame. If they had done the needful, we would not have embarked on strike.”
Meanwhile, Kaduna Polytechnic chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has complied with the indefinite strike declared by the national body, yesterday.
ASUP chairman in the polytechnic, Dr Aliyu Ibrahim said that the chapter totally complied with the directive of the nation body.
“We will remain on strike until directed otherwise by our national executives,” Ibrahim said.
The polytechnic was on break and was expected to resume academic activities in January.
Michael John, a student of the polytechnic, who spoke on the development appealed to the federal government to dialogue with the union and resolve the disagreements.
“We do not want to stay at home like our fellow students in the universities who have been at home for months following ASUU strike.
“Federal government should please find a way to resolve the issues, so that we will resume school in January and continue our studies,” John said.
Kola Adeyemi, who applied for admission in the school also called on both parties to go to the negotiation table and iron things out.
“I have stayed at home for quite too long and hoping to secure admission in Kaduna Polytechnic.
“The strike, if prolonged will affect my chance of securing admission this session,” he said.
It was gathered that the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu also joined the strike action.
Our correspondent who monitored the situation observed that academic activities were crippled at the institution.
Students who came for lectures were forced to go back because lecturers were absent.
Academic activities was also grounded at Kenule Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori and the Ignatius Ajuru Polytechnic, Rumuola, Port Harcourt, all in Rivers State, following the nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
Although officials of ASUP chapters in two Rivers State government-owned polytechnics could not be reached for comments, a senior lecturer at Ignatius Ajuru Polytechnic, Rumuola, Port Harcourt, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the lecturers were only obeying a directive from their national secretariat.
He said: “Although, it is somehow painful to embark on strike at this time, but we got a directive from our national secretariat and are bound to obey such directives.”
The Umaru Ali Shinkafi Polytechnic Sokoto, also known as Sokoto Poly is in full compliance with ASUP directive on the ongoing strike, Malam Kabiru Yakubu said yesterday.
Yakubu who is the Polytechnic’s ASUP chairman said despite being on break, they are carrying out the directive of the national body to the letter.
LEADERSHIP correspondent who visited the school, however, saw fewer numbers of students who said that they came to confirm whether the strike was real.
Meanwhile the federal government is set to meet with the ASUP leadership. Speaking in a telephone interview, the union’s general secretary, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, stated that the meeting will be held at the Federal Ministry of Education after an invitation to the union by the minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
Ezeibe added that the level of compliance of the strike action was high as its members were aggrieved as the federal government has failed to fulfill its agreements with the union.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the union went on industrial action in November, last year following the failure of the federal government to implement all the agreements it entered with them since 2016.
Some of the demands included non-implementation of the NEEDS Assessment Report, and shortfalls in personnel releases and withdrawal of allowances.
Others were non-passage of the amended bill of the Polytechnic Act, alleged infractions in the appointment of rectors, as well as improving the conditions of state-owned institutions.
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