Aggrieved students of Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP) in Bauchi State say hunger, coupled with certain scenarios, forced them to stage a protest over a two-week strike embarked upon by the institution’s Joint Action Committee (JAC).
The JAC, WikkiTimes learnt, embarked on the strike after issuing a two-week ultimatum to the Bauchi State government to look into their plights — delay in salary payment and promotion as well as a deliberate effort to forcefully key them into contributory health scheme.
The striking workers argued that they had explored all means available to engage the government, but all proved abortive. Hence, embarking on a strike remains undisputable.
But the Bauchi State government refuted their claims, insisting it pays their salaries on time. The government, however, urged the union to end the strike to allow for all-inclusive negotiation.
Strike amid examinations
The strike came at a time some students were writing their final papers. Beside that, WikkiTimes understands many students run out of food items at the end of semester, especially towards or during examination.
For instance, the National Certificate Examination (NCE) students of the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP) started their examinations on July 18, 2022, a day before the striking staff grounded operation in the institution.
Many of them were stunned to find the school gate locked the next day. They stood in their large number at the front of the school as news of strike were rumoured. It would later be officially announced a few moments later.
The strike, however, forced the students of ATAP including some students from various four tertiary institutions in Bauchi State to resort to protest. The protest would later be hijacked by hoodlums who set tires on fire and blocked Jos-Bauchi highway, WikkiTimes learnt. Prior to this, some valuables in the school were destroyed by some agitating students.
To combat the unrest, military men including police officers were deployed to the scene. When the unrest won’t stop, the security operatives teargased the protesters to disperse them.
A protester, who pleaded anonymity, said: “I am not a student of this polytechnic. I am only here to help in fighting for the rights of the students who have come from far and near to study here. I am not happy about the recent developments. The government and the lecturers should do the needful in order for these students to continue with their academic activities, especially the NCE students who just started their exams and had to stop because of this strike.”