The Calabar zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities said on Tuesday that the disparaging comments from the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba, Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, and the Accountant General of the federation, Ahmed Idris, are insulting to its sensibilities
The Coordinator of the Zone and senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Uyo, Dr. Aniekan Brown, said this at a media briefing in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Brown said such comments from high ranking officials would not quicken the resolution of the crisis but rather would delay the process.
He alleged that the Minister of State for Education in a National Television blaze callously asked University lecturers to resign and join the farming profession if they did not like their job, stressing that the best the Minister should do is to apologise to members and Nigerians.
“The Minister of State for Education, in a blaze of a National Television rather on a disparaging note, asked our members to join the farming profession, and as well callously stated that any of our members who did not want his job should resign for others who are eager for the job.
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“He was also reported to have quoted non-existent figures concerning our members’ enrollment on the IPPIS. Such expressions are, the least to say: very unbecoming of someone employed to manage the education sector in our country, and insulting on the sensibilities of our members. The best the said Junior Minister could do is to apologize to our members and Nigerians.
“Another sad development is the threat from the Minister for Labour and Employment, which could best be explained in the context of “hangover” of the military rule. He should be reminded that he is dealing with academics in a democracy. His role is that of a conciliator, not an advocate for any group.
“In the same bracket is the Accountant General of the Federation, whose prevarications speak for the disposition to the concealment of facts. That top Civil Service office has illegally, coercively, and deceitfully attempted to migrate our members into the IPPIS.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that the Government has failed to satisfactorily address the issues. Here lies the testament that Government is determined to make the gates of our universities remain closed,” he said.
He disclosed that the federal government had agreed to commit N220bn yearly to the revitalization of Universities between 2013 and 2018 but had only committed N20bn within the period
The zone comprised of seven Universities spread across four states which include Abia State University, Akwa Ibom State University, Cross River University of Technology, University of Calabar, Ebonyi State University, Alex Ekwueme University, and the University of Uyo.