Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, has called on the Federal Government to scrap the appointment of multiple Deputy Vice-Chancellors in the Universities to cut costs and reduce wastage.
SSANU also told the government to review the University Autonomy law, alleging that it has been abused and become a shield to promote corruption and illegalities in the universities.
The outgoing National President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke made the call while addressing the 2nd Quadrennial National Delegates Conference in Abuja.
Comrade Ugwoke said, “I wish to express my concern over the appointment of Multiple Deputy Vice-Chancellors in the University. The appointments not only increase the cost of governance in the University but lead to the usurpation of the job of the Registrar especially the Deputy Vice-ChancellorAdministration.
“There is therefore the dire need to redress this anomaly through appropriate legislation. There should not be more than one Deputy Vice-chancellor in a University. Having multiple Deputy Vice-Chancellors is duplicity and wastage which Universities can avoid.”
He also frowned at the high level of corruption in the university system and called on the government to look into the autonomy law.
According to him, “SSANU as a trade union has been at the forefront in the war against corruption in the educational sector. The damages done by corruption to our tertiary institutions, especially our Universities are quite colossal.
“We have gone on various advocacies, rallies, and protests against the different forms of corruption in the University system, especially in areas of financial management, personnel and others. We have given support to our members who have been persecuted or victimized on account of their stance on corrupt practices either by the Managements or Councils of their Universities.
“We urge the Government to take a second look at the issue of corruption in the University system because of its far-reaching implications on the integrity and sustenance of our institutions.
“We also call on Government to review as a matter of necessity, the Autonomy laws currently in operation, which gives room to Vice-Chancellors to ride roughshod over the entire system and unquestioned by the very Councils that employed them.
“The purposes of Councils are gradually being defeated because we have legalized a system where Vice-Chancellors are now stronger than their Councils. The touted University Autonomy has become a shield through which impunity, corrupt practices, and illegalities are being promoted and any time corrective measures are introduced, protests of University autonomy will rent the air.
“The easiest legal means to hide corruption is through the University autonomy laws and as such, if the government is truly sincere in tackling corruption in the University system, the University Miscellaneous Provisions Act must be reviewed and overhauled.
“Let it be clear that SSANU supports the autonomy of Universities but within proper ambits and the recognition that all interests in the system are represented and protected. Today, what we see as University Autonomy is a tyranny of a group over others in the system, which is unacceptable to us and should be unacceptable to all lovers of democracy, equity, and justice in the university system.”
Ugwoke mentioned the usurpation of the headship of non-Teaching Units by Academic staff in clear violation of Conditions Of Service and Establishment procedures is one of the many challenges being faced by SSANU.