The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the Federal Government not to see the payment of their February and March salaries as a favour, saying it is their legitimate rights and government duty to meet its obligations to its workers.
It also lambasted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, for the comment reportedly credited to him that lecturers are at home playing ludo and other indoor games after paying them their salaries instead of beeen engaging in research activities that would lead to new drugs and medical equipment for use to combat the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The union said ‘government’ should have been ashamed to have”unlawfully and wickedly” withheld members’ salaries and paid only two out of three in the month May on account of disagreement over their enrollment into the newly introduced Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Lagos(UNILAG), Akoka branch, Dr Dele Ashiru, who reacted to these assertions on behalf of ASUU national, said it is disheartening that a serving minister whose mandate is to ensure peace and harmony in the labour sector and who also superintend over the government failed promises to develop the university education could now be acussing lecturers of idleness while appraising self for paying salaries.
According to him, Ngige statement is not only shown that he is not only like fueling crisis, but he also lacks knowledge of what the lecturers are actually doing during this COVID-19.
Ashiru said the minister should know that Nigerian academics are part of frontliners in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
He said so many researches had been carried out in Nigerian ivory towers during this time of pandemic including that of UNILAG team who have just developed a ventilator.
He, however, asked the minister to name any of the discoveries by Nigerians including scholars for COVID-19 or from those before now that Nigeria’s government had adopted let alone supported or encouraged.