The Minister of State for Education, Honourable Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba has expressed displeasure at the incessant obstructions to the free flow of academic activities in the Nation’s tertiary institutions, as he emphasized government’s determination to find lasting solutions to the menace.
The Minister expressed his displeasure Friday in Abuja at a meeting with a delegation of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics, (SSANIP) led by its National President, Comrade Philip Adebanjo Ogunsipe.
According to a press statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Education,
Ben Bem Goong, Nwajuiba said these strikes have done great damage to the Nation’s educational advancement.
The Minister pointing out that the academic and professional aspirations of Nigerian students have been greatly tampered with, hence, the need to put a permanent stop to industrial actions.
He therefore, appealed to the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics, (SSANIP) to shelve its proposed strike as government is working assiduously to meet its demands.
The meeting which was set up by the Federal Government is to dissuade the Association from embarking on the industrial action as the Union had threatened to embark on if its demands are not met at the end of a seven-day ultimatum and also to give the aggrieved Members of the Association a progress report on efforts being made to satisfy their numerous demands.
In her remarks, Director, Tertiary Department of the Ministry, Mrs. Rakiya GamboIlyasu, revealed government’s efforts at addressing the grievances of the Association.
On lingering issues on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System(IPPIS), the Director informed the Association that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, (OAGF) is already fine tuning the payment platform to“ accommodate the anomalies being experienced.”
Noting that the government is aware of the expiration of Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics and that steps are being taken to reconstitute the Governing Councils in the Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology for Federal Government owned institutions.
On renegotiation of the 2019 agreement, Gambo revealed that provision has been made in the 2020 Appropriation Act for the Renegotiation Committee to resume sitting as soon as the Governing Councils in the various Polytechnics and Colleges of Education are inaugurated.
Concerning overhead cost in Federal Polytechnics, Gambo said that the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Accounting, (PICA) has been given the task of carrying out forensic audit on all allocations to the tertiary institutions with the view of ascertaining the causes of shortfalls in the system.
On the challenges of state-owned institutions, the Director stated that the institutions are within the purview of their state governments. She explained that the Federal Government can only exercise an advisory role and allow the institutions to negotiate with their various state governments.
In his remarks, National President of the Association, Comrade Philip Adebanjo Ogunsipe urged the Federal Government to urgently attend to the demands of the Association as the Union will not hesitate to put in all it takes to press home her demands.