BY WOLE MOSADOMI
Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Niger State Polytechnic, Zungeru, has vowed never to return to class even if the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by all polytechnics in the country is called off, until all the contending issues affecting the institution are addressed by the state government.
Addressing journalists in Minna, chairman of the union, Comrade Kasim Ibrahim Mohammed, said the state government has in the past five years grossly underfunded the institution and that this has led to brain-drain of lecturers from the institution to other places.
’’The Niger State Polytechnic is in worrisome state with zero funding from the state government to execute capital projects and for the day-to-day running of the institution,” the ASUP chairman remarked.
According to him, “If we look at the budgetary provision of the state government, N20 million has always been budgeted for the polytechnic in the past five years with no single kobo being released to the institution by government except payment of salaries.”
Comrade Mohammed noted that with the development, it is very clear that the polytechnic had minimal prospects for improvement because the authorities in the state have continued to gamble with the future of the youths who have chosen to pursue careers in the technical sector.
”In fact, the refusal of the state government to implement the CONPCASS/CONTEDISS salary package apart from the poor funding of the institution, has led to massive brain drain and low morale of staff in the polytechnic thus lowering the rating of the institution in the comity of its peers in the country,” the chairman declared.
He said, “as a vital stakeholder in the polytechnic, we must rise in defense of the system; it is a position of our union at the chapter and NEC that the on-going strike will be sustained until the Niger State Government and the Federal Government address all contending issues raised and also take appropriate steps towards repositioning polytechnic education in Niger State and Nigeria.”