Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics suspends its nine-month strike in order to allow Ibrahim Shekarau, the new minister of education enough time to study its demands
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jul. 28, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
AT last, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, has suspended its nine-month industrial action. ASUP said it suspended the strike for three months to allow Ibrahim Shekarau, new minister of education, enough time to study the lecturers’ demands. It took the decision after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council, NEC, on Saturday, July 12, in Abuja.
Chibuzor Asumogha, ASUP President, said the strike was not suspended based on any offer but on intervention from stakeholders and the new minister of education. “We have suspended the strike for three months with effect from July 15. It is not based on any offer but for the sake of the system and our students. We have directed our chapters to hold congresses on July 14 to take a decision and resume work on July 15. The suspension is for only three months to give the new minister some time as requested; we do not want to welcome him with the strike. The minister has given us assurance and we want to give him the benefit of doubt. After three months, we will appraise the development,” he said.
Stakeholders in the education sector have lauded Shekarau, for his intervention in getting the ASUP to suspend its nine-month-old strike. The stakeholders said the move to get ASUP to suspend the strike was a sign of good things to come for the sector, which was facing numerous challenges.
Lukman Salahudeen, senate president, National Association of Polytechnic Students NAPS, said it was a welcome relief that through the new minister’s intervention, ASUP had suspended the prolonged strike, noting that polytechnic students expected him to match his words with action. “We sincerely appreciate the new education minister, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. We implore him to keep his words and ensure the demands of the unions (ASUP/COEASU) are addressed within the suspension period of three months to avert a resumption of the strike.”
ASUP embarked on an indefinite strike in October 2013 over the deplorable state of government-owned polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of technology. The polytechnic lecturers also demanded the removal of dichotomy between Higher National Diploma, HND and degree graduates and the release of the White Paper on the needs assessment of polytechnics.
Other demands include a review of the Polytechnic Act by the National Assembly, payment of CONTISS 15 arrears, improvement of condition of service and infrastructure in schools. The federal government has met some of the demands, including the inauguration of governing councils and setting up of the needs assessment committees.