ASUU, minister trade words over ‘lecturers should go farm’ comment

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Nigeria’s Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have exchanged words over the former’s recent comment suggesting that university lecturers leave for farms.

Mr Nwajuiba was quoted by the a national newspaper to have made the comment in relation to the agitation by ASUU for better working conditions in universities.

ASUU chairman at the University of Lagos, Dele Ashiru described Nwajiuba’s assertion that “you should not force yourself on the man who has the money” as symptomatic of the sense of arrogance and ownership of Nigeria, by a coterie of ruling elites.

A statement he issued described the minister as “disgustingly insensitive to the plight of the people he superintends over” which “is to say the least tragic.”

The rest of the statement is given below.

“The attention of our great Union has been drawn to a statement credited to Mr.
Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the Minister of State for Education, disparaging the Academia by
urging members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) “to leave teaching and
consider going to farming”.

“This utterances of the Minister of State for Education, is to say the least reckless, ill thought-out, unconscionable and unfortunate.

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“This statement much like stuff emanating from back-street beer parlour patrons eloquently
depicts how hopelessly unknowledgeable a Minister of State for Education can be about burning issues under his Ministry. Clearly, the suggestion that the cream of Nigeria’s quality human capital should better go farming for demanding that our universities be adequately
funded has further exposed him as an unpatriotic and dangerous undertaker, who has no business in the Education Ministry.

“The utterances of the Minister of State for Education has undoubtedly shown how myopic and shallow his understanding of how the principles of collective bargaining works in a
supposedly democratic society.

“His erroneous allusion to the payment of salaries to Academic Staff in Nigeria Universities up to July 2020, eloquently confirms his ignorance about happenings in the Ministry of Education.

“Mr Nwajiuba’s unguarded utterances is a clear manifestation of the lack of due diligence in the appointment of public officers to sensitive government departments in
Nigeria.

“Rather than making cheeky statements, what is honourable for the Minister is to concentrate on finding ways to implement the 2019 Memorandum of Action signed with our Union, as well as putting in motion the process that would enable the speedy conclusion of the
renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement.

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“We call on the Hon. Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu, to rein Mr. Nwajuiba before he wreaks further havoc on an already traumatized sector.”

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