By Ugochukwu Alaribe, Umuahia
National Institute for Nigerian Languages, NINLAN, Aba, Abia State, has disclosed why it doesn’t award degrees to the graduates of its courses despite the law that established it as a degree awarding institution in Nigeria.
NINLAN was set up by Act 50, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1993, to award degrees, Diploma and certificates in Nigerian languages.
Speaking at a pre convocation press briefing of the Institute, Executive Director, NINLAN, Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu, lamented that the long standing obstacles to the award of degrees have not been removed because the National Universities Commission, NUC, objects to commencement of degree programmes.
He explained that the NUC insists that the name of the academic authority that established NINLAN, which is the Academic Board, must be amended to Senate, before the Institute could be allowed to commence degree programmes.
Emejulu further disclosed that NINLAN has been made to undergo affiliation with some universities contrary to the Act establishing it as well as the wrongful ceding of the institute to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, which was nullified by the court.
His words; “NINLAN was established by Act 50, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The NINLAN Act empowers the Institute to award degrees, diplomas and certificates. But the long standing obstacles to our start the degree programme have not been removed. At the government level, the National Universities Commission objects to our degree programmes because the name of our academic authority in our Act is academic board, and not Senate as it is called in the universities’ Act.
“Based on that, we were asked to have our Act amended by the National Assembly and that has been going on for three years now. The Academic Board, as it is called in our Act, is the same thing and does the same function as what university Actcall senate. It is just a matter of nomenclature. The NINLAN was made in 1993, 29 years ago and it is only about two or three clauses to be amended. NINLAN should award degrees as its Act provides.”
He also noted that NINLAN is not among institutions catered for by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, stressing that the lack of support from the fund has affected the development of the institution which sits on 209.5 hectares of land.
Emejulu disclosed that the Institute is set to use the opportunity of the first convocation in its history to launch a N5 billion Naira endowment fund to appreciate the huge responsibility the Institute bears as the centre for the development of over 500 Nigerian languages amidst low infrastructural development.
Commending the federal government for asphalting the 2.1km road at the institute, the Executive Director called for more support from the government, corporate bodies and individuals to address the poor infrastructural state of the Institute.