Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday advised tertiary institutions in the country to access the intervention fund provided by the Federal Government through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
The president gave the advice in Abuja at a national conference on Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Values in tertiary institutions for sustainable development.
The conference was jointly organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), TETFUND and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values.
Jonathan, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, said the delay by some institutions to access the funds was not in the interest of the nation’s educational development.
“Under my watch, the tertiary education sector will continue to be supported in terms of incentives and supportive financing so that our dream of effective and result-oriented educational system can be achieved.
“I have received reports from TETFUND that a good number of our tertiary institutions have failed to access the funds which runs into billions of naira.
“I urge the respective institutions to do the needful in this regards because we must fast forward the development of our tertiary institutions and we cannot allow nonchalance to slow us down,” he said.
The president called for transparency and accountability in dispensing funds entrusted to managers of the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He urged the conference participants to come up with innovative strategy that would enhance development in the country’s educational system.
“I also urge you to put in place, a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the decisions and outcome of this conference.
“The yardstick for measuring the success of this conference is how much of our intervention funds are accessed for the purpose it was assigned,” he added.
In his remark, Mr Ekpo Nta, Chairman of ICPC, said the goal of the conference was to entrench the culture of transparency, accountability and ethical conduct in tertiary institution in the country.
He said that the ICPC in collaboration with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) had in 2012 conducted a pilot system study of corruption prone processes in the operation of Nigerian universities.
Nta said the intention was borne out of the desire to help the universities identify and deal with some unethical and criminal practices that were inimical to the smooth running of universities.
He identified admission racketeering, poor record keeping, poor examinations management, improper management of funds and facilities as some of the unethical and criminal practices.
The ICPC boss said the conference was in line with the commission’s commitment to corruption prevention.
According to him, investigations arising from petitions and intelligence gathering have shown that lack of transparency and accountability is one of the major factors responsible for endemic corruption in the tertiary institutions.
In a related development, Dr Musa Babayo, Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETFUND, said the conference was timely considering the boggling situation in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He said that a study conducted in 2012 by the Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian public universities revealed that the institutions were grossly mismanaged.
Babayo called for collective concern on the state of affairs in Nigerian tertiary institutions because higher education was the key driver of growth and development in any country. (NAN)