By LAIDE AKINBOADE-ORIERE
ABUJA – Worried by continued failure of some universities to constitute a functional governing council, the National Universities Commission, NUC, on Thursday, said it would boycott all the activities of such universities by January 2016.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Professor Julius Okojie made this known in Abuja, while speaking with the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, on the establishment of Innovation Enterprise Institutions.
Professor Okojie also tasked State governments to build strong relationship with the Federal Government to reposition Nigeria’s Tertiary Education system.
He said State Universities are underfunded, adding that it hinders expected developments in the universities.
According to him, “There must be strong relationship between states and the the federal government to reposition Nigeria tertiary education sector. We must return back to the old system.
“We must take education very seriously and we must start with primary which is the basic level.
“State universities are underfunded, but after accessing the tertiary education trust fund, proprietors of these universities just sit back and relax,” Prof. Okojie lamented.
Speaking on the importance of leadership of a university, Okojie said that issues of leadership in the university system must be re-addressed.
He tasked Governor Ikpeazu on the deployment of ICT for development of education at all levels in Abia State.
“Let us invest in ICT, it is not only structures that makes university. We have enough space to invest in the Nigerian education system,” he said.
Okojie stressed that lack of continuity in leadership system of universities hinders their progress.
He urged the Governor to encourage good governance structure in the state’s higher institutions.
“Right now NUC will soon issue a memo on this concern of functional governing council and we will go about some accreditation processes in the 141 universities currently operating in Nigeria. If any university fails to have a functional governing council after this memo is issued in six weeks, we will not close the universities down but we will not have anything to do with such schools,” Okojie said.
However, Governor Ikpeazu who commended the Commission for creating more access to tertiary institutions, said the state is currently developing more innovative technical programmes that will be mainstreamed into its university programmes and also link industries with the schools.
“Due to the relocation of the private university we used to have in Abia State into Abuja, we felt it was necessary to approach the commission on approving our pending applications,” said Ikpeazu.