By Kuni Tyessi
The Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba has urged members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to leave the teaching profession and consider going into farming, stressing that more farmers are needed in the country.
Also, in preparation for the reopening of schools, Nwajuiba said some of the modalities that have been put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 will include afternoon classes in order to prevent overcrowding.
Nwajuiba who was a guest on ARISE NEWS Channel in Abuja yesterday, reiterated that all schools must enforce the COVID-19 protocols.
He said: “Some people may not believe what we are doing but we must continue to enforce that. You must continue to abide by the protocol. You must provide them. We don’t really care about how much inconvenience or how convenient you think it is for your child to wear facemask. Obey the rules first. If we find out you’re not following those rules, we will have to deal with somebody.”
On the protracted strike by the ASUU, the minister who recalled that the union did not embark on the strike on the basis of the pandemic, said the university lecturers might consider farming, insisting that more farmers are needed in the nation.
He said the federal government has shown commitment to their demands.
Acknowledging that the union has the right to express itself and make demands, the minister noted that up till July 2020, all academic staff had been paid salaries.
“ASUU is within its rights as a union of lecturers. We didn’t start a strike with ASUU on the basis of COVID-19. ASUU was already on strike way before COVID-19. Just before COVID-19 will shut down schools, they gave an indefinite strike. We are not in any contention with them.
“Government is actually not holding anyone to ransom. It says this is how I want to pay and it has to be through IPPIS. 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 it. That is legitimate but doesn’t mean you should force yourself on the man who has the money.”