FG approves N15bn revitalization fund for polytechnics

•As ASUP seeks payment of 10-month arrears of minimum wage to lecturers •Condemns abductions of staff, students from schools

THE Federal Government has approved the sum of N15 billion as revitalisation fund for Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology in the country.

This approval, Tribune Online gathered was part of the agreement reached between the Federal Government and leadership of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), leading to the suspension of an indefinite strike action recently embarked on by the lecturers.

The ASUP had commenced the strike 6th April, 2021 and lasted for 65 days as it was 10th June, purportedly for a period of three months to enable the government complete the execution of the items contained in the Memorandum of Action signed with the Union on 27th April, 2021.

Recall that the national president of ASUP, Comrade Anderson Ezeibe, while declaring the strike said the non-implementation of NEEDS Assessment report of 2014 in the sector, as well as the inability to release any revitalization fund to the sector despite assurances since 2017 was one key factor serving as catalyst to the strike.

ASUP, however, rising from its 100th National Executive Council meeting held at Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State from 12th to l6th July, where they extensively discussed critical national issues, noted with joy the approval of N15 billion as revitalisation fund for Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology by the Federal Government.

A communique issued at the end of the meeting and made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, by the National Publicity Secretary of ASUP, Abdullahi Yalwa, the lecturers lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approval of the N15 billion and appealed to him to direct the immediate release of the fund to enable the sector enjoy the benefit of addressing critical infrastructural deficits.

The National Executive Council meeting of ASUP, equally called on the Federal Government to settle the 10 months arrears of the national minimum wage in Federal Polytechnics, while condemning the incessant abduction of staff and students across educational institutions in the country.

The Union expressed displeasure over the horrendous state of security across the country and the disturbing threats to lives of citizens, urging government at all levels to address “the terrible state of security across the country and the disturbing threats to lives of citizens amplified by attacks on staff and students across all strata of education in the country”.

The communique partly read: “NEC noted with disappointment the insensitivity of governments at all levels over increase in prices of food-stuff and other essential commodities, and the excruciating pains this has brought to the lives of Nigerians.

“NEC frowned at the deplorable condition of roads in parts of the country which serves as major source of road accidents and provides a favourable atmosphere for kidnappers in the country.

“NEC sadly noted the lingering disparity in the implementation of policies between Federal and State-owned Polytechnics/Monotechnics; which adversely affects the uniformity of standards among these institutions.

“NEC noted with dismay unconcern attitude of government to defray the arrears of the national minimum and federal polytechnics, and non-implementation of the minimum wages as well non-payment of arrears in the most states across the country.

“NEC observed with happiness the efforts of the President to grant the 774 Local Governments financial autonomy in Nigeria. This will go a long way in boosting genuine development at the grassroots level.

“NEC appreciates the Senate for the speedy passage of the bill for the removal of dichotomy between HND and B.Sc. While looking forward the concurrence of the House of Representatives,”.

ASUP further called on the government to do the needful to bring down prices of foodstuff and other essential items by putting in place strategies to support local production through revitalization of industries and more robust soft loans for Nigerians interested in farming and other legitimate business.

While calling on government at all levels to address the deplorable condition of roads in some parts of the country, the Union, urged the government and other stakeholders in Technological education to as a matter of urgency ensure the compliance with the provisions the 2019 amended Polytechnic Act in all institutions for the purposes of uniformity in quality and standards.

ASUP also urged the state governments to desist from using any tactics to avert or undermine the financial autonomy of the local government.

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