Workers of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja on Tuesday took to the streets in protest against the non-payment of salaries.
The workers, who took over all routes leading to the institution, held placards some of which indicated that more than 20 per cent of them had not been paid salaries for eight months “ even after all manners of screening exercises.”
Mr Simeon Ogbadu, Secretary of their workers’ union, who spoke with newsmen, on the action, regretted that members had been subjected to “stressful screenings and rigorous checks without any benefit”.
He said that lecturers were hungry with some of them dying over the lack of basic needs in their homes.
“ Many of the lecturers have lost their wives and children and have suddenly become obbjects of ridicule in the society,” he said.
The union’s scribe said that the workers would embark on an indefinite strike if the state government refused to pay the salaries.
Ogbadu, however, urged the workers to remain calm and await further directives from the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
“ We are ready to return to the classes, but government must meet its obligations; I am very optimistic that the issues will be resolved soon, but unless they are resolved, it will be difficult to work with an empty stomach,” he said.
Why We Haven’t Called Off Strike –ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says the ongoing ASUU strike will only be called off when the government is ready to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
In an interview with The PUNCH, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President, said the federal government needed to give the clearance to National Information Technology Development Agency to conduct an integrity test on UTAS.
Speaking with PUNCH, the ASUU President said: “The integrity test will be handled by NITDA, it is government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government, agency and unless you get clearance from the government that test cannot be conducted.”
Professor Ogunyemi while speaking on whether the government had accepted UTAS, said, “We are still talking, we have given them the position of our members, we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans. The meeting for Monday was postponed. In principle, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process.
Speaking further, the ASUU President also explained that ASUU was ready to resume academic activities if the government was ready to play its part.
“Our members are ready to resume work as early as government is ready to play its part. I’m sure you are not suggesting that our members should resume on empty stomach or the strike should be suspended without any concrete action on the side of the government. We don’t like to stay away from our work because we like our students, they are also our children.
“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have issue with going back to work, but we want more sincerity on the side of government. We have not seen enough reasons to believe that they don’t mean what they are telling us but as soon as we see any sign to that effect. we will tell Nigerians,” Ogunyemi opined.
NECO Postpones 2020 Exams Indefinitely
The National Examinations Council (NECO) on Sunday announced the suspension of the ongoing Senior Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations (SSCE) indefinitely.
This was made known in a statement by NECO’s Head, Information and Public Relations Division, Azeez Sani.
Also Read: #EndSARS: Enugu Govt Adjusts 24-Hour Curfew
The examination body explained that the action was taken due to the closure of schools and the curfew imposed by some state governors to safeguard lives occasioned by the #EndSARS protests.
“Arising from that meeting, the Governing Board resolved that the 2020 SSCE (Internal) be postponed indefinitely in view of the current security challenges, occasioned by the #ENDSARS protests, which disrupted the smooth conduct of the examinations in some parts of the country,” the statement partly read.
#EndSARS Protest: Sanwo-Olu Orders Closure Of Schools In Lagos
The Lagos State Government led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the closure of public and private schools indefinitely in the state.
The closure of schools in Lagos was announced in a press statement on Monday by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi.
The statement which was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’, quoted Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the Commissioner for Education, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.”
This is coming at a time #EndSARS protests against police brutality and bad governance by Nigerian youths grounded academic activities in some schools in the state on Monday.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
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