By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, had lamented that poor funding was one of the main challenges that Nigerian Universities were not ranked among the best universities in the world.
The NUC Executive Secretary also said that any university that loses reputation, must have lost everything in life.
This is as the commission is planning to put in place stringent measures that would curtail the proliferation of universities especially by State governors and ensure that there is adequate funding for any such universities.
Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, has lamented that teaching staff were taking over their jobs through the composition of committees by the university management where the teaching staff were made to head such committees.
Speaking when the leadership of SSANU paid him a visit in his office, in Abuja, the NUC Executive Secretary advised the association to ensure that any time it was entering into any agreement with the Federal Government, such an agreement should be one that will be implementable.
Explaining why the Nigerian universities were not among the highly ranked universities in the world, he said that funding had become a key challenge, adding, “Once a university loses reputation, it has lost everything.”
He told his guests that, “The NUC may come up with stringent measures on establishing state universities because some of the state-owned universities are not well funded.”
He noted with regret that in a particular university in the South-South, the state government released to the management about N452 million to run the institution in the previous year, later slashed the money the next year to N91 million and further slashed it to N40 million, adding, “I am not sure they are paying salary to staff regularly.”
Besides, he said, “Some private universities are sick already,” pointing out that a particular private university has not paid a salary to staff for one and half years.
On the concern raised by SSANU President, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, who led the delegation that state governors were proliferating universities as if it had become a constituency project, the NUC boss said the governors were interested in leaving a legacy but not investing in the established universities.
He, however, expressed optimism that the new NUC Act would give the commission more powers, unlike the existing one, adding that there should be a master plan to be submitted and approved by the commission before any new university was established.
He debunked the claim that some of the commissions set up by the NUC in the universities were dominated by teaching staff against non-teaching staff.
Speaking earlier, the SSANU President, Comrade Ibrahim, lamented that some of the jobs being meant for non-teaching staff were being taken over by teaching staff.
He said that the association believes in excellent service and doing things in the right way, adding that the voices of members of SSANU would only be heard when it is necessary…
But he said, “Our members are becoming more and more troubled by the recent developments coming out of the university system. Our member’s jobs are being taken over by so many committees in the universities.
”There is the issue of nonpayment of salaries especially for our members in state universities. Some have not received salaries for up to six months, yet we hear that NUC is giving accreditation to new state universities.
“NUC should ensure that our members are not languishing in their offices. We are also disturbed over the negative development of nonuniformity in the Conditions of Service in the universities. This is happening to the morale of our members. We call for a uniform standard in the universities.”
The association frowned at the alleged discrimination in the payment of salary at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, where only teaching staff were said to have been paid salary by the authorities of the institution.