The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, to resign from his position with immediate effect, and return to farm.
During an interview on ARISE NEWS Channel, Nwajiuba had suggested farming as an alternative profession to the lecturers, who are currently on strike, saying they cannot dictate how they should be paid by their employers.
Reacting to his comment in a statement issued on Tuesday, ASUU Chairman University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Akinwole said the Nwajiuba has “displayed his naivety on educational matters”.
The union described Nwajiuba’s statement as a reflection of his shallow understanding of the academic profession and the low premium that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration placed on education.
Professor Akinwole called on Nwajuiba to resign his appointment the Minister of State for Education and take to farming as a worthy national service.
The ASUU boss maintained that the union remained resolute not to pursue only the welfare of its 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 100 in the world.
Akinwole stated that if the government of Buhari is not paying lip service to education, it would not have consistently reduced budgetary allocation and funding to education since the assumption of office.
He disclosed that public varsity lecturers are owed earned academic allowances from 2013 to date, challenging the minister to declare if he has been owed allowances and how much since he assumed office.
The professor further maintained that available statistics showed that salaries of university lecturers are 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.
KanyiDaily recalls that ASUU had embarked on indefinite strike early March, this year due to unresolved issues with the Federal Government.