BY IKENNA ASOMBA
Seven weeks after the Federal Government announced that it has commenced implementation of the agreement signed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, by disbursing N100 billion to 59 public universities, the affected tertiary institutions have raised alarm that they are yet to receive the fund.
The Governor Gabriel Suswan-led Presidential Implementation Committee on Needs of Nigerian Universities was said to have sourced the fund within 16 days of its inauguration from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and other government agencies.
The committee thereafter adopted a sharing formula for each of the university based on student population and the depth of infrastructural decay.
The money was meant for the refurbishment/renovation and provision of new facilities such as hostels, lecture theatres and lecture rooms, laboratories and libraries in the universities.
Reacting to report that the money has been released to the universities, Vice Chancellor of one of the universities in the South East said “the Federal Government has only sent us a memo through the Ministry of Education that we are getting N650 million from the funds. Until we get alert into the university’s account, we will know how sincere the government is but presently we are yet to receive the money.”
Similarly, the Vice Chancellor of another university in the South West disclosed that the N1.2 billion earmarked for his university has not been paid either as cheque or cash into the university’s account.
It was gathered from the committee that 13 Federal universities have been left out of the initial disbursement. They are Federal University, Gashua; Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State; Federal University, Dutsin-ma, Katsina; Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State; Federal University, Lafia, Nasarawa State; Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State; Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State; and Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State. Others are FederalUniversity, Wukari, TarabaState; FederalUniversity, Birnin-Kebbi, KebbiState; FederalUniversity, Gusau, ZamfaraState; FederalUniversity, Oye-Ekiti, EkitiState; and PoliceAcademy, Wudil.
Vanguard learnt that these universities were left out because they have just been established by the present administration between 2011 and 2013 which committed trillions of naira in their establishment and that there was no need for additional funding.
Five state universities that were also unlucky are: BukarAbbaIbrahimUniversity, Damaturu, YobeState; North-WestUniversity, KanoState; SokotoStateUniversity; Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode; OgunState; TechnicalUniversity, Ibadan, OyoState.
Top five Federal universities that got the lion’s share of the money were: University of Ibadan, UI, with students population of 33,481 which got N3.250 billion; University of Benin, UNIBEN, with students population of 56,501 got N3.200 billion; Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, with students population of 49,436 got N3.200 billion; University of Port-Harcourt, UNIPORT, with students population of 53,288 got N3.050 billion; while University of Lagos, UNILAG, with students population of 49,179 also got N3.050 billion,
Also, the state universities that benefitted are: Ebonyi State University, EBSU, with students population of 23,437 got N3.050 billion; Niger Delta University, NDU, Wilberforce Island with 12,793 students population received N2.800 billion; Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina with students population of 4,753 received N2.450 billion; Gombe State University, GSU, with students population of 4,383 got N2.450 billion, whereas the Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo with the highest students population of 90,885 among all the considered universities got N1.300 billion.