The University of Benin (UNIBEN) branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has knocked the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiubu, for his comment, asking the University lecturers to take to farming instead of their teaching profession.
The union, in a statement endorsed by Its Chairman, Monday Omeregie, and the Secretary, Fabian Ameachina, condemned the junior Minister’s ‘advice’, describing it as crassly reckless and one given not in the interest of public good.
According to the UNIBEN ASUU, “to say the least, it is a verbal accident for any Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to trivialise an issue of national concern that borders on the very survival of the Nigerian educational system. The shallow utterances of citizen Nwajiuba who has been a responsibility to the Nigerian people is a reflection of the contempt in which the ruling elite of Nigeria have held and still hold the entire Nigeria populace.”
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The academic union added that the statement by the junior minister “is crass irresponsibility for citizens privileged to be in the corridors and bedroom of power to talk down to other citizens”, stressing that “it is an alarming reminder that he is unwilling, and perhaps, lacks the capacity to dig deep and think out solutions to the numerous challenges confronting the Nigerian University System (NUS). It is doubly alarming that a man who went through three Nigerian universities and should be at home with the palpable challenges Nigerian universities face can talk in a manner even motor park touts and layabouts should be ashamed of.
The body reminded Nwajiuba that “Nigeria is not a private entity owned by some individuals and that the money those charged to manage Nigeria are dispensing those not belonging to them. The fund at their disposal is a part of Nigeria’s commonwealth being managed on behalf of us all. Nwajiuba should have known better.”
The ASUU officials said that Nwajiuba should also be reminded that the refusal of ASUU members to key into the IPPIS is not a crime known to Nigerian law, but what is within their rights as ASUU members to differ or dissent without being punished with the seizure of their salaries unfeeling and czar-mannered public servants like the Minister.
“As a matter of fact, the refusal is a statement of the corporate duty and responsibility of ASUU to protect Nigerian Universities and indeed Education from preying hawks like Citizen Nwajiuba. It is tragic that the likes of Nwajiuba continue to be appointed into important offices of the state in a country in need of thinkers,” the statement lamented.
“Rather than insult the intelligence and sensibilities of ASUU members and the larger Nigerian society, citizen Nwajiuba should assist the Minister of Education in finding lasting solutions to the challenges of the Nigerian Educational System,” ASUU counselled.