￼Amid lingering suspicion between the university lecturers and the federal government,
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has revealed plans by the later to review the autonomy laws of public universities.
The Vice President disclosed this on Monday at an event organized by the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja to mark the 60th anniversary of the NUC and the launch of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CIMAS).
This is coming against the backdrop of the incessant strikes that have bedevilled the university system in the country, with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) demanding improved welfare, revitalization of public universities, and autonomy for universities, among others.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stated that one of the major challenges affecting university education in Nigeria is the incessant strike actions by various unions in public universities.
“The most recent strike actions by the university-based unions have necessitated a revisit on the issues and scope of university autonomy by government.
“This will lead to a review of the university autonomy laws to appropriately address funding, including staff remuneration, institutional governance, and administration, as well as issues relating to internally generated revenue.”
“I doubt if there is any country that has lost such amount of time to strikes in its university system. From the first strike in 1978 to date, all the issues have remained the same. The agitations have been primarily on funding, university autonomy, and remunerations.
“I need to stress here that government alone cannot fund education in the country. It is therefore imperative that a sustainable model of funding university education must be developed,” he said.
For the records: Most public universities across the country have for the better part of this year been shut down due to the strike by ASUU. Thereby crippling the university system.ASUU had on February 14, 2022, embarked on a 4-week total and comprehensive strike to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, which amounts to N1.1 trillion, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and payment of promotion arrears.
The National President of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, blamed Ngige for allegedly authorising the part payment, describing him as an “interloper.”
Stakeholders in the sector are however apprehended as to the nature of the review, hoping that, it will not generate another round of tension and controversies that would warrant another strike action.