By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€” The ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has become an embarrassment to the nationâ€™s image and an indication ofÂ the little attention the country availed and viewed its youths and future generation, Catholic Priest, Monsignor Pius Kii, has said.
Kii, who is the assistant parish priest of Christ the King Catholic Church, Diobu, Port Harcourt, said in his sermon Sunday, that it was regrettable that a nation which prides itself as the giant of Africa was at the lower rung of the academic ladder amongst African nations and the developing world.
Drawing attention to the practice where Nigerians now send their children to acquire secondary and university education in nearby Republic of Ghana, the clergy man said â€œthe time may soon come when we will be sending our children to nursery and primary schools in Ghanaâ€.
He recalled that â€œthere was a time in our nation, in the 1970s and 80s, when Ghanaians trooped to Nigeria in search of a better standard of living and it got to the stage where the government of that time asked them to live Nigeria.
â€œ They left in their number, in fact in drove. Even today, there is a bag (jute bag), which we call â€˜Ghana must goâ€, because they had to use those bags to carry their belongings back to their homes”.
â€œ Today, it is our turn to rush our children to Ghana to acquire good education and if they want to pay us back in our coin, what do you think would become of those children who are now schooling in that countryâ€.
In the sermon which was drawn from â€œthe letter of St. James 5: 1-6, with the theme â€˜your wealth is all rottingâ€™, weep for the miseries that are coming to youâ€, the clergyman said most graduates turned out from Nigerian universities were practically half-backed, noting that it was a direct consequence of the incessant strikes in the school system in the land.
Monsignor Kii said the agitation of the university teachers was proper because â€œthis is a system where counselors in local governments who probably had mere primary or secondary education are being paid jumbo salaries that are over and above the highest paid professor in the university.â€
He prayed for the members ofÂ trade union movements that â€œtheir efforts on behalf of their members to achieve greater equality and a just wage be motivated by their awareness of manâ€™s dignity and the interests of the nation.â€
He called on the government to attend to the problems of the teachers for the sake of Nigeriaâ€™s future.