Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, on Friday said Federal Government was committed to paying the striking Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, their arrears.
He stated this at a meeting with the Provosts of Colleges of Education in Abuja.
Wike regretted that rather than tell Nigerians and their members the truth, COEASU and ASUP had embarked on negative political propaganda to mislead the people.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant (Media), Simeon Nwakaudu, Wike said the Federal Government was not happy that Polytechnics and colleges of education were still shut down.
The minister said that the Federal Government remained committed to paying COEASU and ASUP members in two installments to settle the over N40bn owed the workers in arrears.
The Minister maintained that the administration held the lecturers in high esteem, pointing out that it was unfair for the unions to carry out propaganda that they were being treated as second class staff.
He said, “There was no time that the Federal Government paid ASUU their entitlements in one fell swoop. We are paying them in installments. That is the same offer that we have made to the Ploytechnics and Colleges of Education staff. We have offered to pay them in two installments for them to return to the class. We have concluded negotiation and we urge ASUP and COEASU to shift ground in the interest of the students and the nation.
“Negative propaganda against the government will not help resolve the problem. These problems were on ground for years and the Jonathan administration has agreed to resolve them. The resolution cannot be in one day.”
The Minister said that the funds to be injected in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education will be arrived at after the adoption of the Needs Assessment reports that were being concluded.
He appeal to the Provosts of the Federal Colleges of Education to serve as mediators to help in resolving the outstanding issues in the strike, since the Federal Government had tackled over 90percent of the issues raised.
Earlier, Chairman, Committee of Provosts, Dr. Ezeom Ignatius Nwanze, urged the Minister of Education to work towards the resolution of the strike action.
He said that the education sector had benefitted from several developmental projects initiated by the Jonathan administration, adding that returning the staff to the classrooms will help the country.