FG Moves To Resolve ASUP, COEASU Disputes

Minister of Education

The Federal Government has commenced the implementation of a fresh framework to finally resolve the strike actions embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), following decisions reached in a meeting between the striking unions and the Minister of Labour.

 

Speaking at a meeting with Provosts of all Federal Colleges of Education in Nigeria Friday in Abuja, the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, regretted that rather than tell Nigerians and their members the truth, COEASU and ASUP have embarked on negative political propaganda to mislead the people.

 

He said that all the structures of the Federal Government have been activated by President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the strike actions are resolved, because the Federal Government is not happy that the schools are still shut down.

 

He said it is completely untrue that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Government have not engaged with the striking unions to resolve the conflict.

 

Wike said that the Federal Government still remains committed to pay ASUP and COEASU members in two installments to liquidate the over N40 billion owed the workers in arrears. The Minister noted that the administration holds the workers of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in high esteem, pointing out that it was unfair for the unions to carry out propaganda that they were being treated as second-class staff.

 

“There was no time that the Federal Government paid ASUU their entitlements in one fell swoop. We are paying them in installments.

 

“That is the same offer that we have made to the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education staff. We have offered to pay them in two installments for them to return to the class.

 

“We have concluded negotiation and we urge ASUP and COEASU to shift ground in the interest of the students and the nation. Negative propaganda against the government will not help resolve the problem. These problems were on ground for years and the Jonathan administration has agreed to resolve them. The resolution cannot be in one day,” Wike said.

 

The Minister pointed out that contrary to the information being circulated about the N200billion released to universities for 2013 under the agreement reached with ASUU, the funds are meant for the revival of infrastructure in schools and not for ASUU members.

 

He said the funds to be injected in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education would be arrived at after the adoption of the Needs Assessment reports that are being concluded.

 

Wike appealed to the Provosts of the Federal Colleges of Education to serve as mediators to help in resolving the outstanding issues in the strike, since the Federal Government has tackled over 90 percent of the issues raised.

 

Earlier, Chairman, Committee of Provosts, Dr. Ezeom Ignatius Nwanze, urged Wike to work towards the resolution of the strike action. He said that the education sector has benefitted from several developmental projects initiated by the Jonathan administration, adding that returning the staff to the classrooms will help the country.

Meanwhile, the striking polytechnic lecturers are threatening to embark on a ‘massive protest’ in Abuja next week .ASUP President, Chibuzor Asomugha, speaking on a radio programme yesterday, expressed his union’s frustration at the federal government’s handling of the six-month-old strike.

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