The West African Polytechnic/Monotechnic Students Union (WAPSU) and the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) on Tuesday threatened to embark on a nationwide protest over the ongoing strike by polytechnic lecturers. The National President of WAPSU, Mr Salatiuden Lukman and the Publicity Secretary Mr Olugbode Hammed made this known at a joint news conference in Abuja. They both gave the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) a 14-day ultimatum to resolve the issues or the nation would face a million man protests. Newsmen report that ASUP began an indefinite strike on Monday, following Federal Government’s failure to fulfill the outstanding agreement made with the union. The strike was to compel the Federal Government to honour the agreement it reached with the union on October 16.
Both parties had agreed at the meeting to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to resolve the issues, but the government did not honour it, thus the reason for the strike. The union gave the Federal Government and ASUP 14 days to resolve their differences. Lukman said; “we are appealing to the government to expedite action to resolve her impasse with ASUP’’. “It is essential we state that students may not and will not be patient with the duo like we did in the year 2013. `That year, 11 months was unjustly taken away from us in the name of strike. “Government and ASUP must find a common ground to agree for the sake of our future.
“If no resolution in the next 14 days, they should expect students populace resumption for peaceful mass protest at the Aso Villa gate on every week of Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.’’ According to Lukman, the union should equally deploy another means to press home her demands from the government aside instead of industrial action as it only has effect on students. “We must stop being a bait to catch fish at all times and victims of crisis at every point, please consider our career and future and resolve the issue for the sake of our dear nation.
‘’ Also speaking, the National Publicity Secretary Hammed said that the association was also worried about the poor state of facilities at the institutions. Hammed urged states and private school owners to emulate Benue by handing over their polytechnics to the Federal Government for upgrading to ensure standard. According to him, most of the schools are nothing but glorified secondary schools.
“This is because standards have dropped. “The association carried out an investigation on the state of the schools and colleges of health technology in Nigeria and it revealed that private investors are responsible for the drastic fall in the standard of the health profession in Nigeria.’’ Hammed said that accredited institutions were supposed to be the only ones operating but the schools of health were becoming business ventures where any individual could begin in a small apartment.
He said that the indiscriminate establishment of Colleges of Health without adequate training facilities to attract accreditation was a violation of the law. The unions frowned at the practice, and called regulatory bodies to deem their flash lights on such schools.