Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has opposed President Ahmed Tinubu’s administration plan to grant autonomy to federal Universities.
It said the government cannot totally withdraw from funding of tertiary education in the country.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, who spoke in an interview on Channels Television, yesterday, said the constitution of Nigeria clearly states that the federal government must fund public universities.
“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.
Osodeke noted that the union was aware that the government was seeking for new ways to fund universities, but that it cannot completely withdraw its funding.
He said if the government allows universities to truly operate autonomously, in line with the provisions of the constitution, there was doubt that the universities would be able to generate enough funds to run their activities.
However, Osodeke said: “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.”
The ASUU president noted that the solution was for the government to commit more resources to education, like countries in Europe were doing.
According to him, if the federal government keeps to the commitment, universities would have enough funds to provide quality education to students.