Contrary to the claim of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday revealed that Nigerian academics are in the frontline of the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A statement signed by ASUU University of Lagos branch chairman, Dr. Dele Ashiru faulted the claim of Senator Ngige that rather than support the Federal Government in the fight against COVID-19, ASUU members were playing ludo and draft.
Ngige had stated that the Federal Government demonstrated enough good will by paying salaries of striking lecturers thus it is immoral as well as despicable for ASUU members who ought to conduct research for the discovery of new drugs and medical equipment for use during COVID-19 period but are at home playing ludo, draft and other games.
Ashiru stressed that government has not done lecturers any favour by paying the two months salaries withheld unlawfully based on the union rejection of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU revealed that the same minister who was in charge over failed promises after negotiations with the union, would turn around to accuse ASUU of unproductivity and failure to contribute to meaningful research in the fight against COVID-19.
“It is note worthy, that the same Ngige had shamelessly presided over two unimplemented Memorandum of Actions (MoAs) with our union since he assumed duties as minister of labour.
“For his information, Nigerian academics have been in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, ” Dr. Ashiru stressed.
He gave an example that in UNILAG, a group of researchers developed a Ventilator within the short period and other ongoing researches on COVID-19 pandemic in the various universities in the country without any research support from the government.