Falana, others call for strengthening of varsity unions to curb corruption
Human activist lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), and other activists have called for strengthening of university unions to curb corrupt practices in the federal universities.
The activists explained there is need to curb corrupt practices such as unfair allocation of grades, contract inflation, truncation of staff salary on the pay roll, employment of unqualified staff, examination malpractices, sexual harassment, issuance of results for expelled student to graduate, and sales of university certificates for undeserving persons among others prevailing in the federal universities.
The activists made the call at the launch of a report organized by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) titled ‘Stealing the Future; how federal universities in Nigeria have been stripped apart by corruption’, held in Ikeja, Lagos.
Falana noted that strengthening of university unions such as Student Union Government (SUG) and other unions to participate in monitoring of projects would help curb corrupt practices at the universities adding that the corruption has negatively affected the governance of federal universities and the quality of education received by the students.
Falana said: “In 2017, over N200bn was disbursed by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to our universities. Neither Academic Staff Union of Universities (AASUU), nor any of the campus unions monitored the disbursement of the funds. Also, how many companies are paying 2% of its annual profit to support our university system? The bulk of the funds meant to improve the universities end up in the pocket of the contractors. For instance, three Vice Chancellors are currently standing trials for looting funds allocated for running the universities.” Executive Director SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, also a Lawyer, stated the report focused on University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as case studies.
Mumuni said: “The report focus on federal universities is important because the Federal Government of Nigeria is the custodian of tertiary education at the national level and it directs and controls the affairs of the parastatals in charge of tertiary education system in Nigeria to a very large extent.”
“Most of the time lecturers miss classes and they never get punished. Getting a job in the universities is not the question of merit but of connections. Ghost workers syndrome is a problem in the universities.”
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