By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo

CALABAR zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has expressed disappointment at the way and manner some state governments establish state universities without backing same with necessary laws, and urged governors to stop playing politics with Universities establishment.

The zona Chairman Dr Aniekan Brown, who made the claim during media briefing yesterday in Uyo said the development portend dangers as most governors use that to interfere with the autonomy of state Universities.

His words, “It is worrisome that only seven state-owned universities have their laws in conformity with the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act of 2012 while 26 are partially compliant.

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“The non demonetization of the Act gives room for university administrators and governors to trample on the autonomy of the universities by usurping the powers of governing Councils and Senate.Evidence of this could be gleaned from the manipulation of the composition or non-constitution of Governing Councils.

“For instance, the Yobe state university law stipulates a five-year single tenure but was repealed and replaced with a four-yearyear renewable tenure for position of Vice Chancellor. In Eboyi state University, there is no Chancellor and the government is yet to constitute a new Governing Council since it was dissolved in November 2020.

“In Enugu state University of Science and Technology, the Vice Chancellor has acted for 15 months. Currently, the autonomy of the Kaduna state university is under intense threat as it is placed under supervision of both the state ministry of finance and despite the existence of governing council”

Dr Brown called on all concerned to immediately set in motion necessary steps for domestication of the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Amendment Act to allow for exercise of autonomy in the state universities in line with the national and global standards.

He identified another area of concern to the Union to include funding to state Universities, adding that the union has observed that most state government now rely on TETFUND and sometimes divert such money to establish  their university.

“In some instances, state government divert allocation meant for existing institutions from TETFUND to establish their politically motivated universities. The inadequacy or absence of funding for capital projects has overtly manifested in the dearth of well-equipped workshop, libraries, studios, classrooms, hostels, utilities, municipal services.

“ASUU is committed to working for industrial harmony in all universities including those owned by state government, However, this commitment can only be sustained if the respective Visitors and Governing Councils take urgent steps to address the nagging issues highlighted so far.

“Therefore, we call on all owner of state universities to as a matter of urgency, make adequate budgetary provision for both capital and recurrent expenditure for infrastructure, staff development and payment of staff emoluments starting with 2022 budget”, Brown stressed.

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