The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Wednesday began an indefinite strike in all the nation’s polytechnics over non-implementation of the 2009 and 2017 agreement reached with the union by the Federal Government.
This followed the Tuesday’s directive by Mr Usman Dutse, the National President of the union, to that effect.
Dutse said that the strike became necessary following the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 and 2017 agreements reached with the union.
Commenting on the level of compliance, Dutse told NAN that there was total compliance with the strike in all the zones across the country.
He said reports reaching him indicated that the strike was effective.
According to him, the strike has commenced and there is total compliance by all chapters as we are monitoring now.
“We have Zonal Coordinators and a monitoring team zone by zone all over the country.
“Already from the report we are getting, we are satisfied with the level of compliance from all our zones.
“The strike has begun in full force and it will continue until all our demands are met.
“The strike is not politically motivated as being insinuated by some people.
“We have met with the Federal Government many times; we have signed different agreements and memorandum of actions, but the government has not fulfilled any of the agreements.
“We have given the government enough time, but they have not kept their promise,” he said.
At the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos, students were seen in various examination halls writing their 2017/2018 second semester examination.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Correspondent, who monitored the strike in the college, observed that the students were seen in clustered groups reading and discussing the examinations.
NAN also gathered that none of the striking lecturers was seen in all the examination halls monitored.
Commenting, Mr Nureni Yekini, ASUP Chairman, YABATECH chapter, told NAN that all members of the union had complied with the strike notice.
Yekini said that none of his members was part of the examination process going on in the institution.
He said the strike would be total and comprehensive, adding that no lecturers would be part of the academic activities.
According to him, the Federal Government should do the needful and implement all the past agreements reached with the union.
Some of the students had appealed to the union leaders in the college to allow them to finish their final examinations in spite of the strike.
One of them, Miss Kafayat Solanke, an HND II Biochemistry student, appealed to the lecturers not to allow the strike to disrupt her plan, saying that she could not afford to miss her last two final papers.
Solanke urged the lecturers to shelve the strike for the sake of the students who were writing their final examinations.
“We heard about the strike this morning, but it is not affecting us yet, because we are writing our final examinations.
“We are appealing to the union to consider us and let us complete our papers.
“This is my final examination. I want to finish it now, I don’t want to come back here next year because of two papers,“ she told NAN.
Another student, Miss Mercy Oke, an HND II Biochemistry student, also pleaded with the lecturers to suspend the strike and consider the students who were in their terminal classes.
Oke said it would be unfair for the students to come back in 2019 because of only two papers.
“I don’t want any strike now; all I want is to finish my examination and be done with schooling.
“This is our last papers, the union should allow us to finish it in peace,“ she said.
When contacted, Mr Joe Ejiofor, the Head, Public Relations Unit of the institution, told NAN that the college was not aware of the strike.
Ejiofor said that the college was about to round up its academic calendar for the 2017/2018 session, but would be affected by the strike if any.
He said that the students were writing their final examinations and would finish by weekend, pleading with the union not to disrupt the examination process.
“The college does not have any control over the strike because it is not internal, but national.
“The only thing we can do is to appeal to the union to shelve their strike for the sake of the students,“ he pleaded.