The industrial crisis at the Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Bayelsa State is far from over. Even though students have since been ordered to leave the campus following the lingering strike by the teaching and non-teaching staff, there is still tension in the school.
Protests by the striking workers have now moved from the main campus to the liaison office in Yenagoa, where the rector operates from. The door/protector to his office has been locked with a chain.
Also, the main door/protector to the main administrative building has been locked with a chain. The entrance leads to all offices including rector’s office as well as the registrar’s. TNN learnt that the main gate to the premises was however spared because the security staff were still there, but they were warned that no staff be allowed into the premises.
The angry workers laid siege on the liaison office between Monday and Tuesday, while the rector was forced to flee. TNN had reported last week that the rector does not operate from the main campus at Ekowe, where snakes and other reptiles now hold sway.
Some of the staff who spoke to TNN insisted that the rector, having failed to address the issues raised by workers and students, and having allowed the matter to degenerate to this point, should be sacked.
Chairman of ASUP in the school, Franklin Agada said in an online interview with TNN that his members “are focused and ready to continue with the industrial disharmony, whether the management or the rector seem not to be listening. But we assure you that we will continue till our legitimate demands are achieved.”
Making reference to the failed effort of a traditional ruler in the state to handle the dispute, he said “we appreciate the traditional rulers for their effort in bringing peace to our institution. However, ASUP FPE chapter has its demands that are slightly different from SSANIP and NASU, major issues discussed were that of the other unions but ASUP respected our traditional rulers and followed their instructions and called for congress today Monday 17/7/23 and congress men and women reaffirm our earlier position to continue with the strike action since management failed to approach the union.”
The rector, Dr L.A. Agbabiaka did not respond to messages from TNN on the dispute. Calls to his phone were not also successful as at Wednesday morning.