On Wednesday, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) charged both federal and state governments with learning from the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic ravaging the whole world and investing in the nation’s education, saying this would give the country quality medical scientists who can intelligently respond to any health challenges that may ravage the region.
The National President of ASUU, Dr. Biodun Ogunyemi, who made the submission in Abeokuta after leading the Lagos zone of the union to donate 1, 000 pieces of 125ml bottled hand sanitizers to the state government.
Ogunyemi declared that the nation’s scientists can develop vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19 disease if the country’s leaders would show the political will to adequately empower the nation’s biomedical and behavioural scientists among other scholars to undertake cutting edge research into the deadly virus.
Furthermore, he added that what Nigeria stands to learn from the pandemic ravaging the entire world was that investment in education yields immeasurable dividends, stressing that public education and public health were inseparable.
“For instance, conscious and determined investment in university education at national and sub-national levels would give our country quality medical scientists, behavioural scientists, creative scholars and other creams of informed citizens who can respond intelligently to challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“To achieve better results, we believe Nigerian governments at the federal and state levels need to work with public intellectuals and patriotic trade unions like ASUU”. “We also believe such collaborative efforts should be channelled towards addressing issues of funding, conditions of service, academic freedom and university autonomy and other matters which are germane to repositioning Nigerian universities for global competitiveness”.
Ogunyemi further made it known to the public that ASUU’s involvement in the war against COVID-19 pandemic was consequent upon the directive issued to all its 70 branches and 13 zones to play active role in the fight against the spread of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria.
“Your Excellency, I wish to place on record that ASUU decided to free our members for participation in COVID-19 control efforts, in spite our ongoing nationwide strike action, to demonstrate our concern for the health and wellbeing of Nigerians”.
Ogunyemi further explained that ASUU’s branches and the 13 zones have been involved in the production, presentation and distribution of information, education and also communication (IEC) materials, hand sanitizers, facilities for hand washing, among others in not less than 20 states of the federation.
“As the saying goes, prevention is better and cheaper than cure. So, through it, we can fight together and push back the dreaded virus from our land.
The donation of some items to the Ogun state government today is a practical demonstration of that belief”. Speaking on behalf of the government, the Deputy Governor, Engineer Salako-Oyedele appreciated ASSU’s support to the state government in its efforts at overcoming the dreaded disease.
According to Salako-Oyedele, while disclosing that the state has started rigorous campaign and enlightenment at the border communities towards preventing escalation of the pandemic, stressed that the Dapo Abiodun led administration would leave no stone unturned towards curtailing the spread of the pandemic in the state.