BY LAIDE AKINBOADE
ABUJA — The Federal Government, yesterday, disbursed N200 billion to the nation’s public universities, in line with the agreement reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, after last year’s seven-month strike.
ASUU had, weekend, raised an alarm that government had failed to release the fund to universities, in line with agreement reached between both parties.
Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike distributed letters of allocation of the fund in a meeting with vice chancellors of universities in Abuja.
He urged the vice chancellors to ensure that the money was mainly used for the development of infrastructure in their various universities, adding that the money would be utilised before the end of 2014.
It would recalled that the Federal Government agreed to pay N200 billion for the revitalisation of the nation’s public universities in 2014 and same amount for the next four years until the universities were brought to world standard.
Wike said: “The Federal Government is committed to improving university education and I hope the benefiting universities would take advantage of the opportunity to take the institutions to the desired level.
“You must ensure that the funds are mainly used in improving infrastructure in schools and the money should be fully utilised within the year.”
He disclosed that government had resolved to give public account of what tertiary institutions were doing from next month.
He said all tertiary institutions would be mandated to give account of funds allocated to them.
“It is imperative for the public to know how much government was investing in the country’s tertiary education and correct the impression that it was neglecting the sector.
“The exercise would be conducted in the six geo-political zones of the country beginning from March 4, 2014. The exercise would kick off with the North Central Zone at the Federal College of Agriculture, Makurdi,” the minister said.
He said the South East zone would converge at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on March 11, 2014, while University of Port Harcourt would be host to the South-South on March 10, 2013.
He stated that the Ahmadu Bello University would be the host for the North West zone, while those in the South West zone would converge at University of Ibadan on days yet to be announced.
Wike urged the schools not to see the exercise as an audit of their financial expenditure, but a public sensitisation of what they were doing in revitalising the tertiary education sector.
The minister also presented the ministry’s annual report for 2013 to the general public in Abuja, saying the Federal Government spent N225.070billion on federal universities in the 2013 budget.
According to him, N67.411 billion of the money was spent on federal polytechnics; N44.288 billion on federal colleges of education and N39 billion on federal colleges.