NUC to defray arrears of visiting scholars
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has pledged to resolve the impasse with scholars on its Linking Experts and Academics in Diaspora Scheme (LEADS) programme.
For weeks, The Guardian has been publishing reports on the academics expressing displeasure over non-payment of their allowances.
The new Executive Secretary (ES) of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, said work had begun to tackle the problem.
“We are already looking into the matter. I am working to get a full brief on the programme. We want to know how it started, its funding, how much is owed scholars and at what point the programme derailed, so that we can tackle the issues.
“In the next few weeks, I will be meeting all the vice chancellors of the 40 federal universities, 42 state universities and 62 private universities. At the end of the meeting, we will be able to resolve all issues and chart the policy direction for the system,” he said.
Meanwhile, one of the LEADS scholars serving at the University of Abuja, Professor Chinedu Ahaiwe, told The Guardian that the new ES had met with three of them, expressing hope for a resolution of the issue.
“He received us with humility and cordiality. He was shocked to hear that we had not been paid since we were engaged. He was not even briefed that there were LEADS scholars serving within the commission. He promised to start work on the matter immediately but did not give us a specific time for payment.
“Professor (Julius) Okojie once walked us out when we approached him for payment. But the new ES knows the importance of a programme such as this.
“He told us of a professor who was being frustrated at one of the universities sometimes ago. He told us he brought the professor to Bayero University while he was the vice chancellor. According to him, the professor established the radiology or radiography department and did a lot for that university. So we believe Professor Rasheed will resolve our matter,” he said.
Ahaiwe appealed to the Federal Government not to allow the LEADS programme to die but to extend it to other universities nationwide because, passing of the experience of diaspora scholars to younger ones, was unquantifiable.
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