The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics has called on the general public to hold the federal government and its agencies responsible for any strike it embarks upon over the unsatisfactory status of the implementation of the Union’s Memorandum of Action signed with the government in April 2021.
This was contained in a statement signed and made available to The PUNCH by ASUP’s Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Yalwa, on Sunday.
He said that during the 101st Regular meeting of the National Executive Council of the Union held at the Gateway ICT Polytechnic, Saapade,
Ogun State, the report of the implementation of the Union’s MoA with the federal government was received and discussed.
Yalwa said that the Union’s NEC frowned at the government’s “lethargic approach” towards the implementation of some items in the signed MoA despite the 3-month suspension corridor granted by the Union.
According to him, of particular interest in the items include the non-release of minimum wage arrears to staff of Federal Polytechnics and several State-owned Polytechnics, non-release of the approved N15 billion Revitalization Fund for the sector more than 3 months after the approval, non-commencement of the renegotiation of the Union’s 2010 agreement despite the reconstitution of Governing Councils, as well as the continued non-payment of salaries in several state-owned institutions.
He said, “The Union equally expressed its dismay at recent reports of infractions in the process of appointment of Principal Officers in Federal Polytechnics and some State-owned Polytechnics in disregard of extant provisions in establishment laws.
“The Union particularly noted the events at Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe where the process of appointment of Rector was flawed from inception leading to the shortlisting of unqualified persons; Federal Polytechnics, Offa and Mubi where the process has been tainted by the deliberate exclusion of qualified persons; as well as Federal Polytechnics Oko, Offa, Auchi, and Kaura Namoda where Council affairs are being relocated to the FCT without due consideration to the cost implication on the institutions, safety of staff and sensitive documents as well as general administration of the affected institutions.
“In view of the unsatisfactory status of the implementation of the Union’s MoA signed with the government in April 2021, the Nigerian public should hold the government and its agencies responsible for any other breakdown of industrial harmony in the sector as our Union and her members have shown considerable patience and restraint.
“The Union once again demands that the government should without further delay ensure the release of the arrears of the Minimum Wage to staff, release the approved Revitalization Fund for the sector and set up the implementation Committee to administer the funds, recommence the Renegotiation of the Union’s 2010 agreement and withdraw institutional accreditation to State-owned institutions where salaries are owed to staff.”
Yalwa said that the Union equally urged the government to revisit the appointment processes for Principal Officers in Federal Polytechnics Ekowe, Offa, and Mubi to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics’ Act.
According to him, the Union also urged the government to “stop the emerging trend of exporting Governing Council meetings and activities to the FCT by some Governing Councils in the sector.”
He warned that the Union will not give any warning again to the government if it fails to urgently do the needful.
“The Union resolved to deepen its consultation on the next steps as there will be no further warnings if the government fails to do the needful in the immediate,” he said.