The Academic Staff Union of Universities explains why it ordered it’s members, that is all lecturers across universities in Nigeria to embark on strike amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It says that the reason is there would never be a time approved for such an action.
The President of the Union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyenmi, On Tuesday, also inaugurated ASUU COVID-19 intervention in an attempt to sensitize the public and curb the spread of the virus at the University of Ibadan.
The sensitization materials, which were produced by the UI branch of ASUU, comprised about 1,000 100ml of hand sanitizers. The program included a campaign, via jingles in Pidgin and English Languages; posters in three languages and hand gloves.
Ogunyemi, who was represented by the coordinator of ASUU, UI Zone, Prof. Ade Adejumo, said, ”We cannot confront the challenge by bemoaning our fate. What is expected is that we join forces to do what China and other well-organised societies have done to flatten the curve.
”ASUU acknowledges that public information, education, and communication are key. To demonstrate our concerns for the welfare and we’ll-being of the Nigerian People, ASUU members nationwide shall be willing to work with medical and paramedical workers as volunteers in their public enlightenment and professional intervention initiatives.
”All branches shall explore areas of strategic collaboration with federal, state and local Governments to provide support in terms of information and experts skills drawn from our members across the nation. For us in ASUU, this is not an occasion for blame game or buck passing. However, it calls for sober reflection on what we need to do differently with our health and education” or buck passing.
The president added that the COVId-19 crisis has exposed the country’s ”naked and empty teaching hospitals” which is a justification for it’s industrial action to demand revitalization funds for public universities.
He also added that the Union would serve as volunteers nationwide in the COViD-19 crisis
to work with the paramedical workers involved in tackling the outbreak.
He said, “With qualitative and accessible university education, we can guarantee a storehouse of knowledge in scientists, doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists and other medical and paramedical personnel for coping with a global pandemic such as COVID-19. But it appears our universities have no place in the current efforts of government.
“See, for instance, how naked and empty our teaching hospitals turned out to be when threatened by the early wave of COVID-19. Yet, these are laboratories established to produce medical and paramedical personnel for our country.”
The Chairman, ASUU, UI, Professor Ayo Akinwole, said that despite being owed two months’ salary, the Academic Union will not abandon its people.
He said the Sensitization materials would be distributed to the University College Hospital, the Nigerian Union of Journaists, the University Health Carr Centre and the Oyo State Ministry of Health.
Akinwole, added that it did not surprise him that the health care facilities were not equipped and staffed to respond to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said that all kits donated by Chinese Billionaire, Jack Ma Foundation, must be distributed to medical centers to conduct more tests.
“ASUU has always argued against the underfunding of education and health. Nigerians should demand that Government must release funds to public hospitals to scale up their response to the disease. This can be done through provision of funding For laboratories in Nigerian Universities to mass-produce Hans sanitizers, face masks and oxygen plants.”
The president added.