FG Threatening Integrity Of Public Universities, ASUU Alleges

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From Ankeli Emmanuel, Sokoto

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto has expressed worries over what it discribed as intentional violation of the Universities Miscellaneous Act laced with an attempt to disrespect the autonomy and freedom of the Ivory Towers. 

The ASUU branch, which gave instances of some of the violations by the Federal Government to include the arbitrary dissolution of University Governing Councils, to the recent illegitimate advertising of vacancies for the offices of Vice Chancellors and other Principal Officers in Federal Universities, noted that such move  could serve as a precursor to cribling the principles of transparency, equity, and merit-based selection of university principal officers.

A statement jointly signed by UDUS ASUU branch chairman, Prof Mohammed Nurudeen Almustapha and the Secretary, Shaibu Sadiku Adona respectively, said, “the desolution of all Universities Governing Councils in June, 2023 by the National Universities Commission (NUC) following a directive from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, undermines the established procedures and autonomy of these institutions”‘. 

Wondering when the law transferred the official duties of the University Governing Council to the Visitor to the institution or the Minister of Education, ASUU UDUS branch called for a retrospection to avoid flagrant violation of Section 3 subsections 1 and 2 of the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1993 (as amended) thereby threatening the integrity and academic freedom of Nigeria’s public universities.

 “The University Law distinctly delineates the composition, roles, and dissolution procedures of the University Governing Councils. It also prescribes the protocol in the event of Council’s absence, particularly regarding the appointment of principal officers. At no point does the law transfer the council’s functions to Minister or the Visitor. The Federal Government’s actions undermine the principles of transparency, equity, and merit-based selection of university principal officers”.

While calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Minister of Education, and other critical stakeholders to urgently reconstitute the Governing Councils of public universities as a step towards allowing for legal and smooth alignment with the provisions of the law, UDUS ASUU branch also  also urged the Federal Government to uphold the autonomy and independence of universities to safeguard their integrity and equally investigate all manners of violations of the Law in the recent actions taken by various universities in the absence of the University Governing Councils. 

Continuing, UDUS ASUU further appealed to all and sundry to join hands in protecting the autonomy and integrity of public universities for the betterment of our educational system and the future of our nation.

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