The Nigeria Police yesterday dislodged members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), who embarked on a peaceful protest in Abuja to press home their demand.
The lecturers, who gathered in front of the federal secretariat, in Abuja the Federal Capital territory (FCT), were dispersed by gun-wielding policemen, who later fired teargas at them for defying their instruction not to move beyond the premises of the federal secretariat.
The Minister of Labour, Mr. Emeka Wogu, who addressed the lecturers before they were dispersed, promised to address the issues raised by the lecturers who have been on strike for ten months.
At a joint news conference in Abuja on Sunday, the unions had insisted that they will hold the protest on Tuesday.
The National President of the ASUP, Dr. Chibuzor Asomugha and the Abuja chapter chairman of COEASU, Dr. Ahymed Lawal, criticised the Federal Government’s refusal to implement agreements reached with the unions in order to suspend the indefinite strike.
They had appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to among other demands, address issues of funding, infrastructural development, dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates and the harmonisation of working conditions for all lecturers in tertiary institutions.
They have been pushing this demands since April last year.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, had in a meeting in February with the union, accused it of thwarting government’s efforts at resolving the strike.
The government later set up another committee, headed by the Minister of Labour, Mr Emeka Wogu, and was yet to convince the striking lecturers.
ASUP had in April 22, 2013 embarked on a seven-day warning strike to push their demands and since then, they have refused to call-off the strike until pending issues had been resolved.