Unpaid salary backlogs, unfulfilled agreements, ‘victimisation’ are among the reasons members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) are going on strike, the union’s national president, Anderson Ezeibe, has said.
Lecturers in the nation’s polytechnics and monotechnics downed tools indefinitely on Tuesday after a meeting with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
They had set last March as an ultimatum for their demands to be met, but shelved their plans due to COVID-19, Mr Ezeibe explained.
Mr Ezeibe said during an interview on ChannelsTV afternoon News Track that his colleagues were shutting schools nationwide because of the government’s failure to implement the needs assessment report of public polytechnics and colleges of education which the government carried out in 2014.
Already, lecturers at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, have shut the school. The polytechnic in Ede, Osun State, has also joined the strike.
He added that since the report was completed and “a funding deficit of over N800 billion” was uncovered, “successive governments have not released a penny to bridge this funding gap.”
“You must have heard in some state universities where they are owed for 24 whole months. And we expect these lecturers to produce young men and women who will transform this nation? Certainly there is no future in that direction,” he noted.
“For our members in the federal institutions, they are owed 10 months in arrears of the new minimum wage implementation – that’s since April 2019.
“In federal polytechnics, we don’t have governing councils which is already disturbing the smooth running of the polytechnics. Promotion cannot be effected because of this.”
He alleged that the government has been ‘victimising’ the union members who have joined forces with the union in its protest.
“The office of the Accountant-General of the federation is also making demands of purported tax liability of N20 billion from 20 polytechnics spanning between 2002 and 2018. The government wants to transfer this burden to the workers,” he further said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the federal government has promised to address the issues that led to the ongoing industrial action by the teachers.
Residents doctors and judiciary workers are already on strike across the country.