Polytechnic students, under the aegis of the National Association of Polytechnic Students, on Thursday called on the Federal Government to ensure an immediate end to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic.
They made the call during a protest they staged in front of the Ministry of Education at the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja.
The association’s President, Sunday Asuku, called on both parties to reach a compromise or risk nationwide protest by students.
According to him, ASUP had been on strike for two months and nothing had been done about it.
He said, “We have written to them but they have declined. The Federal Government workers are being paid their salaries and allowances likewise our lecturers, so who is going to pay the students for time wastage?”
Asuku added that the students’ body had reached out to ASUP which had promised to shift ground if the government would yield to their 15 demands.
He added, “As a student body, we are interested in the government paying the lecturers their minimum wage which is accrued to two years.
“Other MDAs have received theirs since November 2019. Why holding our lecturers to ransom? If you can give them this, then we have the right to hold them accountable for not teaching.
“We want the government to call ASUP back to a round table and give them what belongs to them, or else by Monday, we will grind activities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.”
However, the Minister of State for Education, Chukuemeka Nwajiuba, while addressing the students said everything that had to do with ASUP had been settled.
According to Nwajiuba, the decision to call off the strike now lies with the union.
The minister said, “Every one of us is pained by what is going on in the polytechnic sector of our education. Many of us spoke with ASUP at the time of their warning strike that we are not running an ad hoc government.
“Nothing ends today, even if I die today, Nigeria will continue and there is nothing that will stop Nigeria.
“When ASUP wanted to start this strike, we wrote them and said everything that ASUP requested for has been agreed upon, we do not have one area of disappointment.”