ASUU vs FG: Resign and go into farming, Nigerian lecturers reply education minister

Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba

Nigerian universities lecturers on Tuesday advised the country’s Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba, to resign and go into farming.

The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan chapter, Prof Ayo Akinwole, speaking on behalf of the lecturers, stated this while reacting to the minister’s criticism of the union.

In his statement on Tuesday, Akinwole said the minister’s criticism showed that he was naïve on education matters.

The minister, Nwajuiba, had, on Monday, in an interview, said the striking lecturers should resort to farming, saying they could not dictate to their employers, how they should be paid.

He had said: “Government is actually not holding anyone to ransom. It says ‘this is how I want to pay and it has to be through IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System)’  You can leave the employment. You can opt out of it and say ‘I no longer want to teach’. You can find other professions. What we need now are probably more farmers.

“You cannot keep forcing your employer and tell him, ‘I will like you to pay me my money through my pillow. Or, ‘I will like you to pay it through this mailbox’. ASUU has a lot of complaints and dissipation around

However, Akinyole described Nwajiuba’s statement as a reflection of “his shallow understanding of the academic profession and the low premium the current administration placed on education.”

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According to him, the minister of state had “displayed his naivety on educational matters.”

“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 sweat of lecturers while politicians siphon money for personal aggrandizement. We cannot accept the IPPIS that is against the laws of the land and which fails to recognise the uniqueness of academic profession and culture,” Akintoye said.