The Federal Government has appealed to the Chairmen of Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics in Nigeria to prevail on the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics to end their now five month strike which has grounded activities in the polytechnic sector.
This is as it disclosed that it would pay the N40 billion outstanding arrears of the migration to CONTISS 15 in two instalments; an offer which the union already rejected.
According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, met with the Chairmen in Abuja friday.
The offer, he said, also extends to striking lecturers of Federal Colleges of Education in the country.
“At our exhaustive meeting with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, we agreed on the two instalmental payment of the CONTISS 15. We have since raised a memo to the President to this effect. I took the risk of committing government because we are deeply worried over the prolonged strike.
“Thereafter, ASUP wrote to inform us that they have rejected this offer. Please, as Chairmen of Polytechnic Governing Councils, we ask that you communicate our commitment to adhering to the schedule of payment. All the processes are on and we are committed to resolving the strike action”, the statement quoted the Minister as saying.
Wike disclosed that the Committees set up for the Needs Assessments of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are almost done with their assignments, adding that the government was unhappy with the current situation where students have been home for several months.
The release of the White Paper of the Visitation Panel to Polytechnics, which is another issue of contention, was almost concluded, the Minister added.
Reiterating the commitment of the government to tackle the rot in the educational sector holistically, Wike appealed to the unions of the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education to focus on the welfare of their members and not on the appointment of Rectors and Provosts.
He called on the chairmen of Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics to prevail on striking Polytechnic staff to accept the offer to pay outstanding CONTISS 15 arrears in two instalments as their acceptance would lead to the immediate resolution of the ongoing strike.
Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Chairman of the Committee of Chairmen of the Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics, according to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) commended the determined efforts of the minister to resolve the strike by polytechnic staff.
Babatope said that with the detailed briefing by the minister, the governing councils would inform staff of their respective polytechnics on the commitment of the Federal Government to pay CONTISS 15 in two instalments.
He said Nigerian polytechnic staff needed to return to their jobs so that further progress could be made.