The attention of ASUU-UNILAG has been drawn to a most disparaging statement credited to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige to the effect that “the Federal government has demonstrated enough good will by paying salaries of striking lecturers” and that “it is immoral and despicable for those who should be conducting research as Nigerians for the discovery of new drugs and medical equipment that will be used during COVID-19 period to say that they are at home playing Ludo and Draft (sic) and other games.”
If this assertion by Senator Chris Ngige is true, it is most unbecoming and unfortunate of a Minister of the Federal Republic, whose mandate is to ensure peace and harmony in the Labour Sector. That he can resort to this kind of chicanery certainly leaves much to be desired.
For his information, the Federal government has not done University academics any favour by paying the two months salaries they unlawfully and wickedly withheld on account of the disagreement over IPPIS enrolment. It is preposterous to say the least that the same Minister who superintend over failed promises by the federal government with its consequential psychological and intellectual torture on Nigerian Academics, would now turn around to falsely accuse them of unproductivity and failure to contribute to
meaningful research in the fight against COVID-19. Not only that, it is noteworthy, that the same Minister had shamelessly presided over at least two unimplemented Memorandum of Actions (MoAs) with our Union since he
assumed duties as Minister of Labour.
In addition, it is shocking to realize that a Minister of the Federal Republicin Senator Ngige’s stature is not abreast of developments in the Ivory Towers, if he is, he would not resort to farcical assertions like the one on “Ludo and draughts games.” For his information, Nigerian Academics have been in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. In UNILAG for example, a group of researchers have just developed a ventilator within this short period and this is without prejudice to other on-going researches on the COVID-19 pandemic in our and other Universities in Nigeria. This, it must be emphasized, is without any research support from the government.
If Ministers like Senator Chris Ngige relish in playing games meant for four year old and above, he should not project such decadence on the Nigerian Intelligential. Senator Ngige is advised to get abreast with progressive intellectual and scholarly innovations in Nigeria’s Ivory Towers before he makes, what is fast becoming, his usual ludicrous, defamatory, and scandalous statements about serious national issues.