By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government has expressed concern on the response of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the call by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, that members of the union should take up farming as an alternative source of income.
A statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Ben Bem Goong, said the minister was quoted out of context in reports making round in some dailies that Nwajiuba called on ASUU members to resign from the teaching profession and take to farming instead.
The Ministry said ASUU’s response to the misquoted publications-by calling on Nwajiuba to resign his appointment and take up farming as a profession, was uncalled for and born out of transferred aggression.
“The Federal Ministry of Education is therefore surprised at the outburst of ASUU on the minister’s statement as there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking up farming while still working. The Hon. Minister of State is on point.
“The outburst of the Academic Staff Union of Universities is clearly a matter of transferred aggression, totally unfounded, misguided and absolutely unnecessary,” the statement said.
While saying the minister did not call on the lecturers to jettison their teaching job for farming, the statement said there was nothing wrong in encouraging individuals to embrace agriculture.
“The minister was encouraging members of the Association and Nigerians in general to take up farming as an alternative source of income.
“This is in line with the present administration’s developmental agenda of refocusing on agriculture for economic diversification.
“Furthermore, farming is the only profession in which civil servants are constitutionally empowered to engage in even while they are working.
“Agriculture helps boost food security, National development, as well as provide economic empowerment for Nigerians,” the statement added.