NUC, ASUU, others back amendments to 9 varsities’ laws
The National Universities Commission, NUC, has backed proposed amendments to the laws establishing nine federal universities.
Executive secretary of NUC, Prof Abubakar Rasheed, said the commission was fully in support and even canvass for the establishment of more institutions to increase access to tertiary education in Nigeria.
Rasheed, who spoke in Abuja at the public hearing of the 9 bills held by the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education, said the proposed amendments run through all the statutes of the federal universities.
“NUC recommends that rather than the piecemeal amendments, all proposed amendments should be run through the universities (Miscellaneous Provision) Act which has general applications to all these federal universities on all the issues raised for the amendments,” he said.
Represented by the director, Corporate Communications, NUC, Mr Ibrahim Yakasai, the NUC boss said the commission fully supports and calls for accelerated passage of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, to provide for the inclusion of Information and Communication Technology as another means of providing Tuition towards the Advancement of Learning throughout Nigeria.
Also speaking, the chairman, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities, Prof Joseph Ahanaku, supported the amendments of the universities’ laws as proposed.
On its part, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, led by its national President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, expressed support for the amendments.
Ogunyemi however expressed concern over the state of tertiary education in the country, especially the gross under funding, which calls for drastic action.
He said for the above reasons, ASUU was opposed to the establishment of any new tertiary institution by the federal government.
Meanwhile, the chairman, House of Reps Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, said the passage of the bills would not only expand the scope of the institutions but also make sure persons saddled with the responsibility of governing tertiary institutions obtained certain minimum educational qualification.
Suleiman urged the committee to expedite action on the bills so as to meet up with the 2019 Budget, while pledging that the committee would be thorough, fair and objective.
“We deemed it expedient to subject these bills to public scrutiny and elicit inputs from the general public. You will agree with me that easy access to quality tertiary education is not only desirable but also inevitable.”
“The tertiary institutions in the country cannot adequately accommodate the quests for admissions by Nigerians, which calls for more to address the protracted problem.
“A number of factors will guide our action. But we promise to be thorough, fair and objective; above all, necessity and the co-operation of host States, would be the deciding factors,” he said.
Universities whose Acts are billed for amendment are Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto; University of Lagos, Akoka; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Maiduguri; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; and National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
The universities are seeking amendments to their laws to specify bachelor’s degree as the minimum qualification of the chairman of the Governing Council, Ownership of Intellectual Property and provide for Pre-action Notice to the University Authority; and for Other Related Matters.