The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Alex Ekwueme Federal University branch, has cried out that the Federal Government is hell-bent on decimating public university lecturers in their employ with forced hunger, as was the case during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.
The branch Chairperson, Dr Ogugua Egwu disclosed in a statement issued on Saturday while reacting to the irksome and provocative outbursts of the education minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on their “take it or leave it” offer of peanuts to university lecturers, as an alternative to the principles of collective bargaining.
Egwu wondered why all the ministers involved in resolving the FG-ASUU face-off are notoriously being economical with the truth, and come to the public domain every day to misinform Nigerians.
According to him, before 2015 when this administration was still fighting (with lies) to unseat the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Adamu Adamu was solidly behind ASUU when the Union was on strike.
Back then when Adamu still had some common sense and shared some sympathy for ASUU, he openly declared to the whole world that: “This nation owes a debt of gratitude to ASUU and the strike should not be called off until the government accepts to do and does what is required.
“So, instead of hectoring ASUU to call off its strike, the nation should be praying for more of its kind in other sectors of the economy.”
Having freely made such a statement not too long ago, many observers and social historians wonder whether Adamu was inebriated when he unleashed those lifesaving thoughts into the public domain through a popular newspaper column or not.
Again, while reacting to the threat by Adamu that striking public university lecturers will not be paid their six months’ withheld salaries, the branch Chairperson stated that Adamu’s statements are an unequivocal confirmation of the pristine loathing the current government has had for ASUU since coming into power.
He said: “FG’s hatred of our union is congenitally historical and unmistakeably aimed at annihilating our members and their many dependents.
In what better ways do you explain the monthly and uninterrupted payment of salaries to striking workers in Nigeria’s Research Institute for many months running, whereas ASUU is being punished?
“How does one explain the fact that ASUU members’ salaries were abruptly stopped in February 2022 immediately after this strike action commenced, whereas the same government continued paying non-teaching staff in the same public universities who are even with larger wage bills and populations than ASUU?
” How do you justify the payment of idle refineries workers’ salaries running into over 136 billion nairas by this same government, according to the Guardian newspaper, while ASUU members and their families are being starved to death for their patriotism?
” And as though these well-hatched insults to ASUU are not enough, the same Buhari government that is using the “No work, no pay” stratagem against ASUU, has just woken up late in the evening to pay the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), and other allied hospital workers their April and May salaries of 2018 which this same government withheld because they embarked on a properly and legitimately convened strike action, just like we did in February this year,” Egwu said.
He added: “Where is the justice, or is this another modern Nigerian way of replicating the injustices of powerful men against innocent, patriotic and hardworking Nigerian lecturers as was demonstrated in George Orwell’s Animal Farm?
“That this government is planning to kill and bury public universities in Nigeria the same way they have done to public primary and secondary education, is indeed very worrisome.
“And more worrisome is the fact that nearly the entire assemblage of the current Buhari cabinet members schooled through the benevolence of government incentives like decent infrastructure and even scholarships.
“One again wonders why their entire ilk, including some of their unpatriotic diasporan collaborators, like Prof Farooq Kperogi, will shamelessly come to the public space to blame ASUU for the current woes of students in public universities in Nigeria.
“And that’s what happens when the likes of Kperogi, Ngige, Keyamo and Adamu get compromised by selfish pecuniary benefits, instead of honourably admitting their failures or the mistakes of government like Dr Isa Pantami has already done by exposing the ills of fraudulent IPPIS, GIFMIS and TSA, even though belatedly.”