The National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) at the weekend urged the Federal Government to amend its agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) in order to call off its strike.
The Senate President of the association, Mr Lukman Salahudeen, made the call in Abuja at a protest march over the lingering strike by ASUP.
Salahudeen said that the protest by the students became necessary in order to persuade the government and the union to call off the strike.
“Sir, our campuses have been locked for the past 10 months, our convergence here is not to protest and go.
“We have come for permanent stay and as you can see, we have our mattresses; our stove is inside our boots.
“We are staying here until the Federal Government concludes arrangement to resolve our crisis that will lead to the reopening of polytechnics.
“Number one of it, is the 13 demands presented to the government by ASUP which is for the benefit of the entire students and the generality of this country.
“Transformation cannot be achieved without technology, if government cannot pay attention to technology advancement of this country; definitely the Transformation Agenda of Mr President could be hampered.
Salahudeen called on the ongoing National Conference to do justice to the issues in contention. According to him, the strike is affecting the academic pursuits by the polytechnic students.
Another student, Gabriel Babatunde, President of Bida Polytechnic, called for immediate resolution of the strike.
Babatunde said that students in the polytechnic were stressed up, adding that staying at home had caused a lot of harm than good to the students.
Responding, Mr Mac John Nwabiala, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education assured the protesting students that government was doing all it could to resolve the crisis as quickly as possible.
Nwabiala, who was represented by Mr Chike Uwaezuoke, Director of Basic and Secondary Education in the ministry, said that government and the Nigerian people were equally worried about the lingering strike by ASUP.
“I want to assure you that government has not gone to sleep on this matter.
“Government is interested in empowering people from the polytechnic, so I will urge you like I told you earlier, that you people should just disperse quietly and you will not be disappointed.
“I am speaking the mind of the minister, he spoke with me on phone when I went to give him feedback earlier on and I told him what I discussed with you.’’
It will be recalled that ASUP has embarked on indefinite strike since Oct. 1 2013. ASUP is demanding for the release of the `white paper’ on the visitation to federal polytechnics and the completion of the constitution of the governing councils for federal polytechnics.
Others demands include the migration of the lower cadre on CONTISS 15 salary scale and the commencement of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian polytechnics, among others. (NAN)