Minister of Education, Professor Ruqqayatu Rufa'i

Minister of Education, Professor Ruqqayatu Rufa’i

Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics has suspended its nationwide industrial strike for one month with effect from Wednesday (today).

In a telephone interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, ASUP President, Chibuzo Asomugha, said, “Yes, we have suspended the strike with effect from tomorrow (Wednesday). We are suspending it for one month out of respect for the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Education so that they would have time to look into the issues with a view to resolving them.”

ASUP said it would not hesitate to resume the strike if issues raised were not resolved.

The issues are the constitution of the remaining governing councils of federal polytechnics; the migration of the lower cadre on the CONTISS 15 salary scale; the release of the White Paper on the visitations to the polytechnics and the commencement of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian polytechnics.

Others are the worrisome state of state-owned polytechnics in the country, failure of most state governments to implement the approved salary packages (CONPCASS) for their polytechnics, and the 65 years retirement age.

Meanwhile, the National Universities Commission has accused universities management of mismanaging funds allocated to them.

The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, levelled the accusation on Tuesday at a one-day workshop on ‘African Centres of Excellence’ in Abuja.

His accusation came on the heels of demands for better service conditions and research funding by the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Okojie said, “They talked about injecting funds into the system; what government has done is to undertake what they call NEEDS assessment.

“Every year TETFund disburses about N600m to each public university, some of it for capacity building, some for capital development but for us, we are not seeing very much improvement in the university system.

At the event, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, renewed her appeal to the Academic Staff Union of Universities to suspend its strike.

She said the Federal Government was willing to do whatever it would take to meet the demands of the union.

She said, “We are talking and we would continue to talk. We have the intervention of our distinguished senators, and House of Representatives Committee which we appreciate and Secretary to the Government of the Federation was also there which we duly appreciate.”

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