The Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige of laying false claims that its members in three faculties of the institution did not participate in the 2022 strike by the union.
Speaking to reporters in Awka on Thursday, the chairman of the UNIZIK ASUU, Comrade Stephen Ufoarah and secretary, Comrade Peter Okoye said Ngige lied, insisting that medical schools in the university were part of the strike.
Their statement read: “The 2022 ASUU national strike lasted between February 14 and October 17, 2022, and all the academic staff members of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka participated fully in the strike.
"The claim by Dr. Chris Ngige, that lecturers in the three faculties did not participate in the strike is totally false, misleading, dishonourable and unworthy of a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Chris Ngige has cajoled his colleagues in the medical field into the ignoble act of claiming that they were on duty during the pendency of the strike in an effort to split the ranks of the union.
“Lecturers in these three faculties ought to realize that as intellectuals, they have a divine responsibility to defend the truth.
"The absolute truth is that there was no teaching and consequently no examination was conducted throughout the period of the struggle.
“Dr Ngige’s incurable phobia for ASUU has eclipsed his sense of decency and he has gone ahead to pay his colleagues and probably kinsmen the eight months arrears of salaries without any verifiable evidence of the work purportedly done during the period.
“The big question is, what is in it for Ngige? This obvious action of divide and rule bespeaks the usual honourable Minister’s insensitivity to the plight of universities in a country where every institution and every household has become a municipality.
“It is sad and most unfortunate that Dr Chris Ngige and his collaborators have continued in their shameful and ignoble acts against the growth of public universities even at the twilight of their administration.
“All lecturers at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka participated in the 2022 ASUU national strike.
“For the records, there are concrete and verifiable evidences from memos and publications from the university that counter the false and trumped up claims of the minister as evidenced in various memos of the university administration relating to the closing and re-opening of the university consequent upon the strike.”
They urged Ngige to purge himself of personal animosity towards ASUU.