The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has announced plans to embark on a nationwide strike starting from August 22.
The union vowed to commence the industrial action, if the Federal Government fails to honour the agreement it reached with the union in 2013.
ASUP President, Mr Usman Dutse, disclosed this to reporters on Thursday at the end of a Zone A emergency meeting of the union in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.
He lamented that since the suspension of the protracted strike in 2014, the government is yet to address some of the core issues that necessitated the strike.
Mr Dutse urged the government to as a matter of urgency, address these issues in order to avoid another nationwide industrial action.
A communique read by the Zone A Coordinator of ASUP, Kabir Yunusa, noted that no significant progress has been made by government in resolving the issues.
The statement highlighted the issues to include the non-implementation of Needs Assessment Report of 2014, non-payment of salaries in many state-owned institutions, delay in the review of the Polytechnic Act and poor funding of polytechnics among other demands.
The ASUP President said that despite giving the government enough time when it came on board last year to settle down and address all pending issues, the present administration has showed no concern about the plight of lecturers, whose salaries were being reduced or owed in most federal and state polytechnics.
The Anti-corruption Academy of Nigeria, an arm of the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), has decried the increasing cases of corruption in tertiary institutions.
Addressing participants at a national workshop on ‘Academic Integrity for Nigerian Polytechnics and Allied Institutions’, the Provost of the academy, Sola Akinrinade, said that corruption in any form was unacceptable and that culprits would be made to face the law.
Professor Akinrinade said that findings from a study conducted by the commission and the National Universities Commission (NUC), revealed major areas where corruption had manifested itself in the operation of tertiary institutions.
With a pledge to collaborate with the Anti-corruption Academy, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education, Mas’udu Kazaure, criticised the running of unapproved programmes by some institutions.
The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Dibu Ojerinde, however, blamed heads of tertiary institutions for the corruption in the system.
The workshop, which had in attendance Rectors of polytechnics, monotechnics and specialised institutions, was aimed at entrenching academic integrity in admissions, examinations, appointments, promotion and staff disciplinary matters in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike on Wednesday 25th February, if government fails to meet their demands.
President of the Union, Mr Chibuzor Asomugha told journalists during a press briefing in Abuja that government has not implemented any of their demands since the suspension of the last strike embarked upon by the Union in July last year.
ASUP is aggrieved over the dichotomy that exists in the way Polytechnic and University graduates are treated in the labour market, and the poor attention given to the polytechnics.
They are also kicking against government’s non-implementation of an agreed salary structure since 2009.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Uche Chukwumerije, has expressed disappointment at the Federal Government over their response and unwillingness to negotiate with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) to bring to an end the lingering strike rocking polytechnic education in Nigeria.
He stated this at the committee meeting with the leadership of ASUP, in which the Minister of Education, Minister of Labour and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation were absent.
The leadership of ASUP had narrowed down their demands from 10 to 2 and were willing to call off the strike had it been the Government representatives were at the meeting.
Mr Chukwumerije further encouraged the ASUP leadership to be steadfast in their struggle and see that the education sector in the country doesn’t suffer any longer.
ASUP have resolved to continue its nine months old strike pending the outcome of the meeting with the Senate Committee on Education on July 1.
President of the union, Chibuzor Asumogha, made the statement at the end of ASUP’s 77th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos, adding that a meeting of the committee and some education stakeholders scheduled for June 24 did not hold because no Government official came.
The Registrar and Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), Dibu Ojerinde, on Wednesday, requested for assistance from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in fighting malpractices plaguing the conduct of public examination in Nigeria.
The Registrar made this request in Abuja during a visit to the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde in his office.
Mr Ojerinde said that the most challenging issue confronting JAMB was the issue of examination malpractices.
He said that though the mandate of JAMB was to conduct credible and valid examinations free of malpractices, the rising spate of sharp practices among students sitting for its examinations has become a cause for concern.
The JAMB boss disclosed that, in the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, two individuals who designed bathroom sleepers that accommodated handsets to receive answers from outside were arrested. The sleepers, he said, were designed specially to cheat during the examinations.
“There is this particular case of a woman in Ikirun, Osun State . During the examination, a search was conducted on her and the scanner gave indication that there were foreign metal object in her body. All entreaties to her to bring out what was on her failed until a woman supervisor had to take her to a closet and undress her only to discover that a handset was prepared just like a pad in her private part. It was that bad. If we had not used the scanner, we couldn’t have detected it. Even at that, I am sure there were people that still went away with it,” Mr Ojerinde said.
In justifying the collaboration and assistance he sought from EFCC, the Registrar said that, “We realized that we in JAMB don’t have this special Eagle Eye to detect some of these things. We have come to solicit for your assistance on how we can work together to exterminate this problem.”
Mr Ojerinde also spoke of plan to introduce e-testing to replace the manual examination conducted by the Board. The idea, he said, will be introduced gradually as candidates will be allowed the option of paper/pencil examinations or e-testing.
“In that way, children will write their examination electronically and at the end, the candidate will submit and the scores will appear immediately and the candidate will go home with his/her scores; but the national standardization will still take place”, he proposed.
EFCC promises to help
The EFCC Chairman assured JAMB Board of EFCC’s collaboration. He said the Commission will always be available to handle any issue referred to it, promising that, “we would always intervene not only during examinations, we would also like to beam searchlight on personnel of JAMB to know how the questions get to the candidates”, he said.
Mr Lamorde also suggested that efforts should be made to de-emphasize paper qualification in Nigeria. “Even in the western world, there are people who have done wonderfully well without having a University or a Polytechnic degree. These people have contributed meaningfully to the society,” he said.