Supervising Minister of Education, Nyeson Wike, yesterday asked members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) to be patriotic to the “Nigerian Project” by initiating an approach that will mitigate the impact of the ongoing strike on the country’s development.

He advocated that ASUP can arrange a timetable for industrial actions in such a manner that allows participation by only lecturers who have no classes.

Wike, who was represented by his Special Assistant, Lambert Oparah, at the 4th annual capacity building workshop organized by ASUP in Lafia, Nasarawa State, asked the union to consider the option of what he called “picket demonstration,” instead of shutting down schools with the participation of all lecturers at all times.

“To picket, only lecturers who do not have lectures on a particular day should be out with placards and demonstrate, while those who have lectures remain behind to continue with their instructional service delivery to students. This way, your grievances get heard while students continue to benefit from the services you render and the nations’ development is not slowed down,” he said.

He said analysis of the ongoing strike action by the union shows that everyone is losing, especially students and the nation.

“If it was possible to quantify and monetize loss productivity of the faculty and staff of institutions, it will be mind boggling. We will be looking at billions of naira down the drain. It is time to look at different ways of carrying out industrial actions and getting the government’s attention,” he said.

But before Oparah could conclude the speech, members of the union, drawn from across the country, began chants of “no, no, no.” They objected to the suggestion, with many rising from their seats to insist that the minister drops that line of thought.

Later, ASUP national president, Chibuzo Asomugha urged Nigerian students to initiate actions that will compel the government to answer them.

He also decried the security situation in the country, saying: “What is happening to the abducted Chibok girls is totally condemned by the association. The nation is now at a crossroad and it requires all facets of the society to put heads together. Education is comatose and nothing serious is being done to remedy the situation even as thousands of youths are out of school today”.

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