Some students under the umbrella of National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) have threatened to storm Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja with the aim of interrupting domestic and international flights starting from Monday, if their demands are not met by Federal Government.
NAPS tasked Government to reach an agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic Staff (ASUP) to end the lingering strike, while demanding the immediate reopening of polytechnics.
It was gathered that the Federal Ministry of Education’s entrance was barricaded by the aggrieved students displaying placards with various inscriptions as they called on the government to listen to their lecturers, the Nation reports.
President of NAPS, Mr Sunday Asuku, urged ASUP and the Federal Government to reach a compromise or risk nationwide protest by the students.
“We are here to demand immediate reopening of our tertiary institutions. ASUP has been on strike for two months now and nothing has been done about it.
“Government is not saying anything about this and we want them to reopen the schools now or else we are not leaving.
“We have written to them but they have declined. The Federal Government workers are being paid their salaries and allowances likewise our lecturers, so who is going to pay the students for time wastage.”
The President noted that the association has met with the leadership of ASUP who promised to shift ground if the government meets their demands.
“ASUP demanded 15 items from the Federal Government but was only able to get two which to us is not commendable.
“As a student body, we are interested in the government paying the lecturers their minimum wage which is accrued to two years.
“Other MDAs have received theirs since November 2019, why holding our lecturers to ransom? If you can give them this, then we have the right to hold them accountable for not teaching.
“We want the government to call ASUP back to a round table and give them what belongs to them, else by Monday, we will grind the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.”
However, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba who received the protesters with other officials noted that everything that had to do with ASUP had been settled by the government.
The Minister stressed that the responsibility lies with the union to be fair on the students by calling off the strike.
“Everyone of us is pained by what is going on in the polytechnic sector of our education. Many of us spoke with ASUP at the time of their warning strike that we are not running an ad hoc government.
“Nothing ends today, even if I die today, Nigeria will continue and there is nothing that will stop Nigeria.
“When ASUP wanted to start this strike, we wrote them and said everything that ASUP requested for has been agreed upon, we do not have one area of disagreement.
“On May 23, we communicated to ASUP and we have given them a catalog of everything that they said we should do that we have complied with.”
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) recently insisted that there was no going back on its strike action that started on Tuesday, April 6.
ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, accused the Federal Government of insensitivity, noting that the government has failed to reach out to members of the union with a view to resolving the controversial issues despite receiving the union’s notice of strike.