Harris Emanuel -Uyo
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the gradual erosion of morals and scholarships in the nation’s universities.
The President stated this during the 25th convocation ceremony of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, held at the weekend.
The university awarded degree certificates to 4,308 graduates comprising 642 postgraduates, 3,492 undergraduates and 173 sub-degree holders.
President Buhari, in a speech read by the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), Abubakar Raseed, expressed dismay at the steady rise in cases of plagiarism, corruption, sorting and sexual harassment in many universities.
He, therefore, called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to only criticize the perceived failure of government alone, but should also direct its searchlight on the internal flaws in the university system.
He said: ‘’ I want to challenge them to throw their searchlight on the issue of corporate governance of their various institutions. It would give credence and credibility to their fearless critical stance with regard to the government if they address internal university management flaws with equal and unsparing forthrightness.
‘’It is very disheartening to hear about the increase in incidents of plagiarism, sorting and sexual harassment in many universities in the country. These aspects of academic corruption should also be part of concern to ASUU and indeed the academia as a whole.
‘’We should be able to look up to the university as a citadel of probity, accountability, transparency, critical inquiry and freedom. University administrators must seriously engage in self-examination with due regard to their traditional claim during convocations that their graduands have been found worthy in character and learning.
‘’Can universities vouch, in view of the present untoward happenings in the universities that all their graduands have still been found worthy in character and learning? It is a source of concern that drug abuse, addiction and other hideous acts of misconduct such as cultism, armed robbery, and break-ins rear their ugly heads in some of our university hostels and campuses.”
He, however, charged the universities to live up to their billings, noting that the government would continue to accord priority attention to education and urged Nigerians to show more willingness to make a little contribution toward funding the tertiary education of their children.
Buhari said he has directed the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to increase its funding for research and development to support the government’s quest to laying of a solid foundation for Nigeria’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.