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ASUU cautions Education Minister, Nwajiuba over comment

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, University of Benin Branch (UNIBEN), yesterday, chided the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, for making a mockery of varsity lecturers in his comments purportedly asking members “to leave teaching and consider going into farming.”

In a statement made available to newsmen in Benin City and signed by the Chairman and Secretary of UNIBEN chapter of the association, Monday Omoregie and Fabian Amaechina, the duo said that the insult to the varsity lecturers by the junior Minister of Education was unacceptable and a mockery of the struggle for a better educational system in the country.

The chapter chairman said rather than insult the intelligence and sensibilities of ASUU members, the junior minister should assist the Minister of Education in finding lasting solutions to the challenges of the Nigerian educational system.

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The statement reads: “We refer to the statement credited to citizen Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the Nigerian junior Minister of Education cynically and caustically asking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ‘to leave teaching and consider going into farming’. We do not intend getting into the gutter with him. We do, however, wish to point out that the junior minister’s ‘advice’ was and remains crassly reckless and not in any way meant to serve the interest of public good. 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 hallow 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. Let it be known that it is crass irresponsibility for citizens’ privileged to be in the corridors and bedroom of power to talk down at other citizens. The statement 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 who man 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.”

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“On his misguided assumption that ASUU is challenging “the man with the money”, he has forgotten that Nigeria is not a private entity owned by some individuals and that the money those charged to manage Nigeria are dispensing does not belong 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.

“Citizen Nwajiuba should also be reminded in clear terms that the refusal of ASUU members to enrol onto the IPPIS is not a crime known to Nigerian law; that is within their rights to differ or dissent without being punished with the seizure of their salaries by unfeeling and czar-mannered public servants like Nwajiuba. 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,” he said.

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