ASUU, SSANU, stakeholders laud government’s probe of 12 federal universities
The decision by the Federal Government to probe the finances of the 12 federal universities set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan administration has been commended by stakeholders in the education sector, who described the action as proper and in order.
The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Abel Idowu Olayinka, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) posited that since there were no governing councils in place when the new institutions were established, the Federal Government as the visitor and proprietor, has a right to question how the funds disbursed to these universities were utilised.
According to Olayinka: “If the Federal Government is funding the institutions, it has a right to ask how the funds were expended, moreso when initially there were no governing councils in place.
“The vice chancellors were more or less like sole administrators. Governing councils would have been the interface between the university management and government. The councils are supposed to be in charge of the financial management of the universities, but for like three years, the councils were not in place and funding was through the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).”
Also, ASUU while welcoming the decision said its position from onset was that government erred by setting up universities without planning for their establishment.
The National President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said at the time of setting up the 12 universities, there was no visibility study, developmental or strategic plan in place by the Federal Government, adding that even as at today, some of these universities do not have laws.
SSANU said government’s action was in order since the move was aimed at having an overview of how the initial grants for take-off of these institutions were spent.
The National Public Relations Officer of the union, Abdussobur Salaam said: “The decision is in order. We have had cases of some universities who were given take-off grants to start up and when you get to these institutions some years after, you will wonder if you are in a secondary school. What this means is that those funds were not properly utilised.”