By Gabriel Dike
Striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) yesterday denied the claim by the Federal Government that it has met all demands of the union.
The union asked Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible for the prolonged industrial action in the polytechnic system.
ASUP members in state and federal polytechnics on April 6, this year embarked on a nationwide strike to protest the non-implementation of their demands.
Reacting to a statement credited to the Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, that the Federal Government has fulfilled all ASUP’s demands, ASUP Secretary General, Mr Shammah Kpanja, said that it was made to deceive protesting students into submission.
Ikpanja in a two-page statement entitled: “ASUP will not bow to cheap blackmail and propaganda” stated in clear and unequivocal terms that the minister goofed in his remarks as he displayed an embarrassing lack of understanding of the issues in contention and progress being made in the engagements between the union and the government.
“In fact, he alluded to this in his further statements when he claimed that he does not know why the union is on strike. We understand the minister of state for education gaffe on the day as he has not been part of the engagements in any way from day one, neither has he been part of the review meetings between the union and the officials of the Federal Ministry of Education.
“lndeed, he does not know why the union is on strike. His embarrassing display on the day is typical of the display of majority of the political class in the country who take turns to deceive and hoodwink the populace irrespective of the sensitivity of the occasion.”
ASUP said in this instant, the minister’s target were the students who came to express their displeasure at the government’s insensitivity to their plight.
ASUP advised the minister state for education to endeavour to draw a line between politicking and governance and take closer interest in the challenges facing the education sector in line with the mandate of the ministry.