By Jethro lbileke
The University of Benin (UNIBEN) branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Tuesday carpeted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, over alleged uncomplimentary comments they made against the Union.
The Union expressed displeasure over Ngigie’s claim that lecturers who should have been busy researching on the cure of the novel Coronavirus disease, are busy playing ludo, draft and other games at home.
This us even as it faulted claim by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation that ASUU as a body wants to evade tax through the IPPIS.
The Union expressed it’s anger in a statement titled “Re: Unscrupulous officiously and brazen violation of the laws of the land by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation”, signed by its Chairman, Monday Omoregie and the Secretary, Dr. Fabian Amaechina.
“It is important to briefly comment on the statement of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to the effect 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 and other games’.
“We acknowledge that one of the cardinal duties of members of ASUU is research, the others are teaching and community service,” the statement said.
It added that the general public is aware of the contributions made by various branches of the Union in the effort to combat the Coronavirus pandemic and curtail its spread across the nation.
In noted that the willingness and preparedness of members of the Union to conduct researches for the discovery of drugs and medical equipment have also been demonstrated by the production of automated hand-washing machines and respirators at the University of Benin, University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Jos and among others.
The Union described claim by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation as reckless blackmail and deliberate misinformation.
“The reckless resort to blackmail and deliberate misinformation (in stating that the Unions in the tertiary institutions have requested to formalize tax evasion through IPPIS and the further claim that their request is an unpatriotic request to violate extant laws on tax) by the OAGF is most unethical and irresponsible of an office from which Nigerians expect the highest sense of decency, probity and sincerity,” the statement said.