May 27, 2023

Attacks on Ngige: MDCAN threatens to withdraw from ASUU

Naira scarcity: Kidnappers now on break, bandits on holiday - Ngige

Senator Chris Ngige, Labour Minister

*Says Nnamdi Azikiwe ASUU leadership economical with truth

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, NAUTH Chapter, has threatened to withdraw its membership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, over alleged falsification of facts and unwarranted attacks on the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige.

In a statement titled RE: ASUU NAU Chairperson lack of tact and Mischievous release”, MDCAN NAUTH Chapter , berated ASUU leadership of NAU, of not only being economical with the truth, but being mischievous and playing to gallery
MDCAN lamented that the kind of mind-set, unguarded statements and “bravados” being exhibited by NAU ASUU leadership led to the failure in Federal Government, FG, and ASUU negotiation.

The 13 point-statement by the MDCAN Chairman and Secretary, Dr CN Ilokanuno Dr VI Modekwe, respectively, among others reads “We would like to put on record that various institutions where academic activities took place during the 2022 ASUU strike has had the lecturers of the involved faculties paid or their payment being processed following an application with verifiable evidences. The latest university paid is University of Benin. We did not hear any noise over this.

“Secondly, the salaries paid were not only to medical doctors who are lecturers but to all lecturers of the three faculties in the medical school, some of who are current and past ASUU officials. Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh ( NAU ASUU Chairman )is aware of these, but has chosen to play to the gallery.

“Now to the crux of the matter is that it was the lecturers of the three faculties of the Medical School of
NAU that applied to the F to be paid our 2022 withheld (and earned) salaries with evidences of lecture and academic activities during the strike. These documented evidences are available and the ASUU chairperson is aware of them, as he was a source of at least one of those evidences.

“Academic activities took place at our medical school during the strike. ASUU Chairperson was aware as he sent his team to disrupt some of them. He sent threat messages on some occasions. He made threat calls on other occasions to our deans and lecturers.

“We conducted two (2) professional examinations during the strike. We graduated and held an induction ceremony during the strike. We held classroom lectures and active teachings at the clinics, wards, theatres, and emergency rooms. Tutorials took place.

“Our students signed an undertaking to be taught. Comrade Ufoaroh and ASUU members know that medical training takes place majorly at the clinical areas more than the classrooms.

“In fact we conducted another two (2) professional examinations immediately after the strike. This would not have been possible if the medical school was shut down as Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh alleged.

“Comrade Ufoaroh said that the university was shut down, but mischievously failed to point out that the faculties of basic clinical sciences and medicine are housed at the teaching hospital (NAUTH), which obviously cannot be closed by the Vice-Chancellor or Senate of the university.

“The faculty boards of the medical school held several meetings during the strike. And in one of the meetings, resolved to go on with academic activities without necessarily sabotaging ASUU effort. This is because the training of medical doctors does not follow the same pattern as other professions. We cannot rush our students. We do not have vacations that we can use to cover up for the strike periods. We have not recovered from the 2020 strike (while other faculties and departments have).

“Again we are facing a man-power crisis in the medical field in Nigeria. Comrade Ufoaroh was aware of these meetings, the outcome and these arguments, hence his threats through text messages and calls, at those times. How does one conceive and explain the idea that medical students should be away from training for a straight eight (8) months, and remain the same?

“Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh has thus become the first ASUU NAU Chairperson who insists that the medical school must be completely shut down during ASUU strike.

“We had done these for altruistic reasons. It was the reason we did not apply to have our salaries paid as at when due during the strike, which some other university medical schools did. We also refrained immediately after the strike as a way to support ASUU (of which we are members and to give her the chance to retrieve the salaries of her members).

“We are therefore appalled that comrade Ufoaroh will descend so low in attacking his colleagues (we) and the Honourable Minster of Labour and spreading falsehood about them. Even to the point of alluding to tribalism (very reprehensible for a leader and an intellectual).

“We think that it is this kind of mindset, unguarded statements and “bravados” that led to the failure in FG and ASUU negotiation. And we think that an official like Comrade Ufoaroh is the one that needs to be
purged of animus that leads to self-destruction.

“We express unreservedly our utmost disappointment that an association (ASUU) that we belong to and the fund will be used by anybody to fight against our welfare. It is surely ripe to introspect and review our membership of ASUU NAU if the current leadership does not retrace her steps….a life that is not subject to periodic introspection is not worth

“This action of the ASUU NAU chairperson has further justified the minister’s wisdom in registering a more humane association of doctors to purge us from this dictatorial leadership.

“We commend the Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige for his due diligence in investigating our claim and finding us worthy to be paid like others.”