The Supervising Minister Of Education, Nyesom Wike revealed that the Federal Government is facing great difficulties in resolving the lingering industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, (ASUP) and College Of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU).
The much anticipating meeting was held yesterday with the lawmakers, the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, lecturers of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) at the National Assembly in Abuja.
It was not the expectation of the day that was the final answer, however. Initially, it was said that the yesterday’s meeting was going to bring the lingering strike to a halt but hope dimmed for a likely end to the over 10 months strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) as the Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike said the government is in a fix on how to handle the issue.
In the meeting between the Aminu Suleiman-led House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Ministry of Education, led by Wike, the minister said the standoff between the teachers and the government would be tricky as the proposal he made on the payment of the outstanding N40 billion arrears to both COEASU and ASUP had been overtaken by events.
The Supervising Minister of Education said to the committee:“We are now in a fix. We are now trying to resolve the issue with Salaries and Wages Commission.”
Wike stated that he took a risk that he had never taken in life when he summoned a meeting with ASUP and proposed the payment of the outstanding arrears in instalments.
He said:“I asked that we solve the major issues. They said there were arrears of N20 billion for COEASU and N20 billion for ASUP.
“I asked the permanent secretary to write a memo on how it would be paid. I made a memo to Mr. President that I have made the offer. They now wrote a letter back that they are not accepting the proposal.”
Finally he said,“Sequel to the rejection of the proposal by the ASUP, the Wages and Salaries Commission wrote a letter also rejecting the proposal thereby compounding the situation.”
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, and Colleges of Education and Academic Staff Union, COEASU, have been on eight-month and six-month strike respectively.
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