The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has said that the statement where he asked striking lecturers in Nigeria to take up farming as an alternative was taken out of context.
Nwajiuba made this known in a statement released yesterday by the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Ben Bem Goong.
According to the minister, he was only encouraging the lecturers to become farmers in line with the Federal Government’s economic diversification plans.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Education has been drawn to publications in some national dailies to the effect that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, to resign his appointment and take up farming as a profession.
“This is in response to a statement supposedly made by the Hon. Minister advising members of ASUU to resign from the teaching profession and take to farming instead.
“We wish to categorically state that the Minister was quoted out of context. 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.”
The statement also explained that the Minister made the comment as farming is the only alternative profession open to them as engaged civil servants.
“Furthermore, farming is the only profession in which civil servants are constitutionally empowered to engage in even while they are working. Agriculture helps to boost food security, national development as well as provide economic empowerment for Nigerians.
“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 statement also read.