The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, says Federal Government cannot totally back out from funding universities.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Osodeke said it is clearly stated in the Constitution that the Federal Government must fund public universities.
He was reacting to a report where the Minister of Education Prof. Tahir Mamman, was quoted to have said that the Federal Government will initiate new ways of funding tertiary education by granting full autonomy to universities to explore new sources of financing their activities.
The ASUU boss said, “There is no way the Federal Government of Nigeria would say they would not fund public universities because it is there in the law. It is there in the Constitution, look at section 18 of the Constitution, it says ‘university, primary and secondary are free,” Osodeke said.
While Osodeke remained cautious about speculating on the government’s intentions, he noted that if the law is followed to run university operations without any interference from bureaucrats, there would be little to worry about in terms of funding.
“The only problem is that it is not judicable, that’s the only problem so I said I don’t think this government from what we have seen is going to say we are going to hands off from university. But the autonomy is here, ignited in year 2003 if we follow that law and allow it to run without interference from the bureaucrats, the university system would be fine.”
He added that if Nigeria commits greater allocation to education like countries in Europe are doing, the universities will have enough funds to run its activities.
The ASUU don believes that allowing universities to function autonomously, following the provisions of the law, could result in an effective higher education system in Nigeria.