STRIKE : ASUP Ends 81-day Industrial Action As ASUU Remains Adamant

Nigeria's Education Minister, Ruqayyatu Rufai

Nigeria’s Education Minister, Ruqayyatu Rufai

ACADEMIC activities will today resume in all the Federal and State Polytechnics nationwide following the suspension of the 81-day industrial action by the lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP.However, the two-week old strike by university lecturers is continuing as the meeting between the joint Committee of Senate and House of Representatives on Education and the lecturers under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU,  to find solution to the strike ended in deadlock.

This came as pro-labour civil society groups, under the aegis of Joint Action Front, JAF, have expressed concern over the state of education in the country, and are planning a nationwide mass protest  to force the Federal and state governments to not only accede to the legitimate demands of workers of the nation’s tertiary institutions, but also make adequate funding of public education compulsory.

Speaking on the suspension of the strike after their National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja, ASUP Chairman, Dr. Chibuzor Asumogba, said that the decision to suspend the strike was a result of the intervention of the Joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Education.

It would be recalled that ASUP embarked on nationwide indefinite strike on April 29 over what they termed Federal Government’s insensitivity to its demands.

Meanwhile, efforts by the Joint Senate and House of Representative Committees on Education to resolve the crisis between the ASUU and the Federal Government Monday night ended in deadlock.

The joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on
Education in a bid to ensure amicable resolution of the crisis that led to the shut-down of universities invited the union and representatives of the Federal Government, but the two warring factions could not arrive at an agreement for the strike to be called off.

Speaking to Vanguard after the meeting, President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, said the union made its presentation before the committee, while the Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i also made their own presentation, adding that towards the end, there was no common agreement.

Dr. Fagge said: “The government side made their presentation and we also made our presentation and it became clear to the Senate and House of Reps Committees on Education that there have to be a follow-up meeting.

“So they requested both side to go and look at their presentations again and make some consultations and come back at a later date.”
Similarly,  to the Secretary of the Senate Committee on Education, Felix Orumwense, the meeting which lasted over eight hours ended with ASUU standing their grounds.

He said: “Our meeting with ASUU started by 1.00p.m. and ended at about 8.30p.m. All efforts to appeal to them to call back their members back to classroom fell on deaf ears.”

Meantime, pro-labour civil society groups, have threatened to organise mass protest in support of better educational system in the country.

The group  also threw total support for the ongoing nationwide strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, and Senior Staff Association of Polytechnics, SSANIP, that have shut down the nation’s university and Polytechnic education for the past two weeks and about four months respectively.
JAF in at a general meeting to discuss the crisis facing the nation’s education, lamented perceived irresponsibility and insensitivity of the Federal Government and state governments to the collapsing state of public education.

JAF added that most political office holders (executives and legislators) and civil service top functionaries at all levels of Government, allegedly have unhindered corruptive access to the looting of public fund, with which they allegedly sustain their children and cronies in private schools and universities in Nigeria and abroad.

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