The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has described as illegal all the 16 universities and other higher institutions established by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, saying they lack the necessary legal backing and so may be living on borrowed time.
This remark was made by the union’s National President, Dr. Issa Fagge Nasir, while commenting on the recent conversion of four colleges of education to universities by the Federal Executive Council, FEC. Nasir, in an exclusive interview with New Telegraph, described the conversion as an assault on the Acts establishing the colleges, adding that universities are not only established via executive fiats but through thorough consultations with stakeholders and deep understudy of the pros and cons of such decisions.
He said, “Our quarrel with the government is that universities are not just established by executive fiats like this administration is doing. So the Federal Government is only compounding the problems already bedeviling the education sector and I wonder if the incoming administration will allow this to stand.
“Strictly speaking, the Federal Government is not respecting its own laws, and I wonder how you just transmute an institution without looking at its laws. What happens to its staff, facilities and infrastructure?” The ASUU president also queried the release of N500 million each to the four new universities as take-off grant, saying the money alone cannot be enough for staff training not to talk of infrastructural upgrade.
He said academic institutions like universities are the bedrock for national development and so are not run without defined mandate and vision, and that using them to achieve political gains will only further compound the nation’s problems.
He, therefore, called on the incoming administration to critically assess these decisions and make impartial judgment that will benefit the mass of the people and return the country’s education sector’s lost glory.