The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has dismissed a claim by Williams Uchemba that its members begged for money and food.
The actor had recently claimed he got a distress call from some lecturers at the varsity seeking financial help amid the ongoing strike by the union.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over the federal government’s alleged failure to meet its demands.
Uchemba had pleaded with the public to support the lecturers with their donations, adding that some of them told him they can no longer feed their families.
But in a statement on Wednesday by Christian Opata, UNN ASUU chairman, and Michael Nwokedi, its secretary, the union asked the public to disregard the actor’s claim.
The union alleged that when it confronted Uchemba over his post, he was “very apologetic”.
ASUU also said it has already put measures in place to cushion the effects of the strike on its members.
“The attention of the leadership of ASUU-UNN has been drawn to a video credited to one Mr Williams Uchemba seeking the support of well-meaning and good spirited individuals to help lecturers in UNN feed their families. The maker of the video claimed that the help arose from a request by one lecturer in the branch,” the statement read.
“However when the leadership of the branch got in touch with him, he was very apologetic and went ahead to put his apology in writing and posted some social media, especially on his Facebook page.
“ASUU-UNN wish to inform the general public that our union is not aware of any such plea and never initiated same. Our shock is that we have a very welfare scheme for cushioning the effects of the withheld salaries on our members and majority of members who applied for help under the scheme were attended to.
“This is not limited to feeding but extends to payment for health challenges, school fees of wards, members and other challenges that require financial assistance.”
ASUU said while the actor’s claim looks suspicious, it is commendable if such was indeed to draw the attention of the government to the plights of varsities in the country.
“We suspect that this may be one of the antics of government to break the ranks of ASUU. Our suspicion is premised on the coincidence in the timing of the said post and President Mohammed Buhari’s misplaced, unfounded and ill-informed threat of ‘enough is enough,” it added.
“However, if his intention is genuine, we thank him for calling the attention of the public and government to the plight of Nigerian universities and equally ask other Nigerians to join him to prevail on government to end the strike and get our children back to school.
“We therefore call on the general public to disregard the mischievous call for assistance.”
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