The Academic Staff Union of Universities has reiterated its backing for full autonomy for universities in the country. The union also faulted the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and the Treasury Single Account for some of the infractions in the management of funds and recruitment process in universities.
The National President of the union, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with our correspondent recently, while reacting to the comment by the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, that the administration of President Bola Tinubu would grant full autonomy to universities, noted that university autonomy is a matter of law and should be respected by successive governments.
He stated, “University autonomy is a law in Nigeria so it’s not new. It’s just for the government to implement it and not abuse it. There are steps for the government to check if there are abuses.
“First is that every university must prepare its account for the Budget Office every year and forward it to the National Assembly, and when the President assents to it, it becomes the budget. When you go back to them you have to account for the one you received the previous year.
“The second is that it also mandates that on a yearly basis, the account of the university must be audited by the national auditor, and finally there is also a provision that the President sets up a visitation panel every five years to go and check what is happening in the universities.”
He noted that some of the provisions were there before the introduction of IPPIS and TSA “that now makes it in a way that no one knows how much a university gets, how much they spend and no one knows who is employed. In those days, when you employ a staff, you defend it but these days, no one knows what is happening. When they brought IPPIS, we started seeing all these things. The provision is already there, follow the law.”
Sunday PUNCH reports that ASUU and past governments have engaged in a series of disagreements over the true state of funding of government-owned universities.
The minister had said during an event in Abuja recently, “Mr President is determined among others to initiate a new creative means of funding tertiary education by granting universities the autonomy to explore new sources of financing their activities.”