The Supervising Minister of Education in Nigeria, Mr Nyisom Wike, says the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) will soon be called off, as the government has met most of the union’s demands.

Mr Wike gave the assurance while responding to issues in the education sector on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, on Monday.

He said that the government had agreed to set up a governing council and had also set up the need assessment programme for the institution.

“We have reached an agreement on the salary grade issues and we have worked out what should be paid. We are now looking at how to pay it because the government cannot afford to pay it completely. It has to be at instalments.

“We have made a proposal to them and they have taken our proposals and said that they will go back to their union. We have also made some recommendations to the government,” he said.

The union embarked on an indefinite strike on October 1 2013, demanding among other things, the removal of the dichotomy between High National Diploma holders – graduates of polytechnics – and University graduates in placement and career progression; constitution of an effective and functional governing council for polytechnics; a white paper on visitation panels to polytechnics and a much-needed assessment of polytechnics.

Appointment Of Pro-chancellors

The Supervising Minister of Education also cleared the air over the controversy surrounding the removal of the pro-chancellor of the University of Nigeria in Nsuka in the eastern part of Nigeria.

He questioned why the removal of the pro-chancellor’s issue was being politicised.

“The appointment of pro-chancellors is whose prerogative.

“We did not dissolve the council. The visitor has power to remove whoever has been appointed,” he said, defending the president’s decision.

Mr Wike explained that if the government felt that the pro-chancellor was not doing well, he could be removed.

“In the first place, he is from Nsuka, mind you. Ordinarily, why should you appoint a pro-chancellor from that community? And we saw what was happening and the government felt, listen, we can’t allow the University of Nigeria to go down by allowing the politics that was coming into that place.

“The government decided to take away this man and bring in somebody from outside and that is what we did,” he stressed.

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