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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Poly student protest in Abuja halt activities

THE National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), on Friday, staged a protest in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory(FCT), over the prolonged strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). The students union lamented that the lingering strike has claimed lives of 10 of its members and called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately sack the Supervising
Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, over his “nonchalant attitude” toward resolution of the strike. The strike, which is in its 10th month, has paralysed academic activities in the nation’s polytechnics. On Friday, students from various polytechnics across the country blocked roads leading to the Federal Secretariat in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to draw the attention of the Federal Government to their plight. Security was tightened around the Federal Secretariat, resulting in gridlock while noone was allowed to enter the secretariat building. Chanting uncomplimentary songs against the supervising minister of education, the students, who carried placard, vowed not to leave the premises of the ministry until they were attended to. NAPS Senate President, Salahu Lukman, who spoke on behalf of the students, said over 10 students had died since the strike started while others had been exposed to different vices. Lukman, an Higher National Diploma (HND) student of Kaduna Polytechnic, said the students were demanding for three key things: the removal of Wike and the appointment of a substantive minister; the removal of dichotomy between university and polytechnics graduates and that the government look into ASUP demands and respond urgently. An acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Daniel Chike Uwaezuoke, who spoke on behalf of the minister, pleaded with the students for calm, assuring that the government had constituted a committee to look into the matter. “We have met with almost all the demands of ASUP and left only with the issue of dichotomy. The Federal Government has formed a committee which will look at it and come out with a report that will be forwarded to the commission and from there, to the president for a lasting solution. We have not been silent about this matter because it concerns our children and whatever bothers our children bothers us too,” he said.

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