The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday described a comment credited to the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, that striking lecturers should consider farming as an alternative profession as alleged “reflection of his shallow understanding of the academic profession and low premium that the government places on education”.
Nwajiuba while participating on a television program had suggested farming to the lecturers saying they cannot dictate how they should be paid to their employers.
Reacting to his comment, ASUU Chairman University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Akinwole said the Minister of State has “displayed his naivety on educational matters.
According to Prof Akinwole, the scarcity of farmers is a reflection of the failure of the government he is part of to make farming secured for legitimate farmers.
Akinwole asked Nwajiuba to resign his appointment and take to farming as a worthy national service.
The ASUU boss informed that the Union is unlike the Minister of State who pursues selfish agenda.
He said the Union remained resolute not to pursued only welfare of her members while downplaying the infrastructure collapse and underfunding of public universities but decided to continue to fight parasites like Nwajiuba who preside over a Ministry where no Nigerian University is in the top one hundred in the world.
Akinwole stated that if the Muhammadu Buhari government is not paying lip service to education, he would not have consistently reduced budgetary allocation and funding to education since assumption of office.
Professor Akinwole stated that public varsity lecturers are owed earned academic allowances from 2013 to date challenging the Minister of State for Education to declare if he has been owed allowances and how much since he assumed office.
He maintained that available statistics show that salaries of University lecturers’ is below what is paid to academics in Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
“As Scientists, experts in Agriculture faculties continue to conduct research mainly with external funding or personal monies. But Nigerian government who failed to protect farmers and exposed Nigerians to excruciating poverty is not making use of research findings”.
“If the Minister of State for Education is interested in farming, he should resign his appointment and stop displaying his cluelessness of the problems in the education sector.”
“We are on a just fight to ensure that those in public offices become responsive and responsible to the masses they swore to serve. They must fund public education”.
“We have been on the same salary since 2009. That is no longer sustainable. The universities are being run with personal sweats of lecturers while politicians siphon monies for personal aggrandisement.
“We cannot accept IPPIS that is against the laws of the land and which fails to recognise the uniqueness of the academic profession and culture.”
“We have brought an alternative using our members’ money. People like this Minister of State mirrors the disdain of ruling class for the workers and people of the country,” ASUU concluded.