The National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) on Thursday protested the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) in Abuja.
The students, who barricaded the entrance of the Federal Ministry of Education and carried placards with various inscriptions, demanded the immediate resolution of the dispute between the Federal Government and ASUP.
ASUP embarked on an indefinite protest in March over poor working conditions in the nation’s polytechnics.
They urged the federal government to listen to the cries of the students and their lecturers.
The NAPS President, Sunday Asuku, who addressed journalists at the rally, asked both parties to reach a compromise or risk nationwide protest by the students.
He said: “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. The 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?”
Asuku said the student body had reached out to ASUP, which had promised to shift ground if the government yields to its demands.
The NAPS President added: “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, Chukuemeka Nwajiuba, who addressed the students, said everything that had to do with ASUP had been settled.
He said the onus lies with the union to be fair to the students and suspend the strike.
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