Students appeal to President Jonathan to end ASUP strike

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Students of tertiary institutions in the country have appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to end the lingering nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki on Tuesday, the students said time had come for the president to personally wade into the dispute and bring the strike to an end.

According to them, the seven-month-old nationwide strike had caused serious academic setback to polytechnic education.

One of the students, Mr Ogochukwu Oko of the Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Uwana Afikpo in Ebonyi, described the indefinite strike as “unfortunate’’ and appealed to the president to act fast to save polytechnic education.

“The strike is almost seven months old and the government has not come up with any concrete position to resolve the industrial impasse.

“What is happening has created an academic hemorrhage which is detrimental for the nation’s technological development.

“I think this is about time for our dear president to intervene and save the nation from this embarrassing situation,” he said.

Miss Cynthia Uzo of the accountancy department in the same school lamented the loss of one academic year and appealed for actions to end the protracted strike.

According to Uzo, it is rather unfortunate that the government is paying lip service to polytechnic education in the country.

“The issues that our lecturers are demanding for are very critical to functional, effective and qualitative running of polytechnics.

“Since a series of meetings between the union and the government often ended in deadlock, it is wise for our president to personally intervene in the crisis,’’ she said.

She maintained that the quest for industrial and technological advancement would be a mirage if proper attention was not given to polytechnic education.

Mr Malachi Odo and Desmond Iheanacho of Ebonyi State University condemned the government’s apparent insensitivity and poor handling of the strike.

“Agreement is agreement and the law demands that agreements must be obeyed.

“We are shocked that the government will always renege on agreements it validly entered into with labour unions and by so doing give room for industrial action.

“This is unfair and unhealthy for our overall development as a nation and we therefore appeal to Jonathan to quickly intervene to save the situation,’’ they said.

They noted that graduates from the nation’s tertiary institutions were looked down in the international community because of the country’s long history of incessant strikes in the tertiary institutions.

The polytechnic lecturers embarked on a nationwide strike in August 2013, citing the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement it reached with the federal government. (NAN)

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