By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City

The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) yesterday insisted that there is no going back on its ongoing nationwide strike even as it raised eyebrows on how some rectors were being appointed into some polytechnics.

National President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe stated this at the Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo State at an emergency congress of the Union as part of his visit to polytechnics in the country.

ASUP had on April 6 this year embarked on a nationwide strike on six key factors affecting polytechnic education which include non-implementation of the ASUP/FG agreement of 2010, non-payment of salaries, arrears of the new minimum wage in some state-owned Polytechnics, Implementation of the NEEDS Assessment report of 2014 and reconstitution of the Governing Councils of Polytechnics among others.

While commending members of the union for complying with the directives on the strike, Ezeibe said “Every polytechnic is observing the strike and the compliance level is very high, we will continue to persevere, victory is around the corner by the grace of God we will be able to turn around the fortune of the sector.

“It is true that the government has started doing something, the one that has been done is the issue of Governing Councils that have been reconstituted and the visitation panel that have been set up as well.

“Offers have been made for the payment of arrears minimum wage and the N15 billion infrastructure revitalisation fund, they are still at the levels of offers because the funds have not been released.

“We want to see the funds released for the sector and we want to see some other items that require processes to be put in motion.

“If we are able to get to that point I am sure our National Executive Council will take a second look at the strike,” he said.

He denied the alleged N20 billion collectively owed by 19 polytechnics staff as tax liability saying that such money has been deducted through pay as you earn (PAYE) and paid to state internal revenue where they exist.

The president, however, expressed concern over the appointment of unqualified Rectors for polytechnics against the Polytechnic Act, adding that to be qualified for the rector, such a person must be a chief lecturer with at least a minimum of five years in any of the polytechnic.

Earlier, the chairman of ASUP, Auchi polytechnic chapter, Mr Lawani Jimoh thanked the national president for coming to the polytechnic to inform members on the level of progress regarding the strike.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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