The Academic Staff Union of Universities [ASUU], Calabar Zone has raised alarm over the Decaying condition of state Universities in Nigeria.
The union has charged Nigerian Governors to quit playing politics with the establishment of multiple state Universities, but to rather focus on updating existing ones to an acceptable standard.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the Chairman of ASUU, Calabar zone, Dr. Aniekan Brown said poor funding of state Universities and unnecessary interference by Governors portends grave danger to the future of Nigeria.
He said the decision to alert Nigerians on the issue was reached at the Union’s National Executive meeting held at the University of Ilorin, earlier in August.
The Union which called out some state Universities including Abia and Ebonyi as being in a critical state expressed optimism that Nigeria which is today a borrower nation, could actually become a lender by investing in the area of research, staff welfare, and infrastructural development to help reinvent itself and secure the future.
“We are worried that only seven state-owned universities have their laws in conformity with the Universities Miscellaneous Provision
Amendment Act of 2012 while 26 are partially compliant. In most universities, the non-demonetization of the Act gives room for
university administrators and governors to trample on the autonomy of the universities by usurping the powers of governing Councils and the Senate.
“Evidence of this could be gleaned from the manipulation of the composition or non-constitution of Governing Councils. For instance, the Yobe state university law stipulates a five-year single tenure but was repealed and replaced with a four-year renewable tenure for the position of Vice-Chancellor.
“In Ebonyi state University, there is no Chancellor and the government is yet to constitute a new Governing Council since it was dissolved in November 2020. At Enugu State University of Science and Technology, the Vice-Chancellor has acted for 15 months. Currently, the autonomy of the Kaduna state university is under intense threat as it is placed under the supervision of both the state ministry of finance and despite the existence of governing council.
“ASUU calls on all concerns to immediately set in motion necessary steps for the domestication of the Universities [Miscellaneous Provision Amendment] Act to allow for the exercise of autonomy in these state universities in line with the national and global standards.
The union noted with regret that most state governors rely on TETFUND to fund state Universities and sometimes divert such money to establish new ones to score political points.
“In some instances, state Governors divert allocation meant for existing institutions from TETFUND to establish their politically motivated universities. The inadequacy or absence of funding for capital projects has overtly manifested in the dearth of well-equipped, workshop, libraries, studios, classrooms, hostels, utilities, municipal services”. he said
Reacting to question on the face-off between the Union and Federal government due to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), introduced by the latter, ASUU declares IPPIS too illiterate to understand the realities of the Nigerian University system.
“IPPIS is too illiterate to understand the realities of Nigerian University system. It is a fraud against Nigerians. Accepting IPPIS would be a case of historical irresponsibility. It has no room for promotion arrears and then you are telling me it is good for the system?
“IPPIS is not lettered enough to know that it is supposed to be two percent of one’s basic salary, but it goes ahead to take two percent of the net And to worsen the matter, you are not even aware of how much is remitted to you and who pays the remittances. We insist that it is a fraud.
Now it calls itself “Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System”, but what it does is only to deal with the pay roll without any knowledge of the personnel,” he said.