ASUP Strike: Education Minister and Polytechnic lecturers trade words; ...strike continues

The seven months old strike by Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, took a dramatic dimension yesterday at a meeting to resolve issues at stake as the union and Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, got entangled in a verbal war over invitation of students and the media for the talks.

While ASUP accused the minister of inviting students to the meeting to undermine it, the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom, said the students and media were invited to know how far government had gone in resolving the lingering crisis.

On his part, National President of National Association of Polytechnics Students, NAPS, Mr. Ogbonaya Sunday, who spoke on behalf of the student body, accused ASUP of using them as a negotiating tool with the government.

Consequently, the meeting hit a deadlock as both parties were unable to resolve issues that led to the strike.

ASUP National President, Dr. Chibuzor Asomugha, expressed regrets at government’s invitation of students to a meeting where issues around the strike were to be resolved, adding that the union expected both parties to have passed the stage they were in with the government

But the minister in his response said: “There is nothing wrong in inviting the media and seeing the report in the media before the meeting. Inviting the media is not a new thing, we never listed there things that would be discussed.

“In most cases, on television I watch you say all sorts of things against the Federal Government and how federal government is insincere and how they do not want Nigerian polytechnics to grow. I think we should respect ourselves.”

He said the reason NAPS was part of the meeting was for them to know what the Federal Government was doing.