The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced that it has started raising awareness nationwide as an intervention in the war against the raging coronavirus (COVID-19).
This despite the non-payment of the salaries and allowances of its members by the federal government.
Union President Biodun Ogunyemi said this on Tuesday during the termination of the Union’s Coronavirus Disease intervention at the University of Ibadan (UI) in Oyo State.
In his statement, Ogunyemi said that access to correct information, adequate education and meaningful communication by Nigerians are effective solutions for the Scourge.
However, he noted that the rot in the country’s education sector is a fundamental problem in the country’s health sector and accused the federal government of not considering education as an instrument to bring about the country’s much anticipated change.
“We cannot face the challenge by complaining about our fate. What is expected is that we will band together to do what China and other well-organized companies have done to “smooth the curve. The ASUU recognizes that public information, education and communication (IEC) is the key to success and is supported by access to health facilities and basic medicines. For this reason, today we mark our entry into the intervention networks via ASUU-UI. We hope that our token efforts will achieve the desired outcome in raising awareness of the prevention and control of COVID-19 in the state of Oyo and Nigeria.
From the user interface, ASUU members marched through key health care facilities to distribute personal protective equipment such as disinfectants and leaflets that were interpreted in various Nigerian languages.
According to Ayoola Akinwole, chairman of the ASUU UI branch, the union mobilized its members in various departments to contribute to the items manufactured and distributed in and around the city of Ibadan.
Mr. Akinwole said the value of the distributed articles could not be quantified, adding that the skills and professionalism of the members invested in the efforts were products of cooperation.
In his words: “What we did today was to distribute awareness materials, including posters, jingles, and protections to our health workers.
“For two months, the government has refused to pay our members’ salaries, allowances, and deductions, but we can’t be discouraged from changing the country’s education for the better.”
The ASUU President added that the awareness train will travel to the University of Jos (UNIJOS) in the State of Plateau and other areas of the ASUU on Wednesday.
“I can assure you that we will not be discouraged. The train leaves for UNIJOS on Wednesday and the next one could be our chapter at the University of Maiduguiri in Borno State. Every chapter that I cannot attend is processed by the zone leaders, ”said Ogunyemi.
He urged the federal government to justify the union’s support for a better education sector, adding that this was the permanent solution to Nigeria’s many challenges.
“For us at ASUU, this is no reason for blaming or handing over money. However, it requires a sober reflection on what we have to do differently with our health and education. We speak of our health because it is the key to our prosperity, and of our education because without it we are nowhere on the ascension ladder among civilized nations.
“With high-quality and accessible university education, we can guarantee scientists, doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists and other medical and paramedical personnel a knowledge repository for coping with a global pandemic of the size of the COVID-19. But it seems that our universities have no place in the government’s current efforts … ”
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