The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has disclosed that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to completely halt funding of public universities.
The Union President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, made this known during a chat with Channels TV, on Thursday.
Osodeke said this in reaction to a report where the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, was quoted to have said that the Federal Government will initiate new ways of funding tertiary education by granting full autonomy to universities to explore new sources of financing their activities.
“There is no way the Federal Government of Nigeria would say they would not fund public universities because it is there in the law. It is there in the Constitution, look at section 18 of the Constitution, it says ‘university, primary and secondary are free,” Osodeke said.
While Osodeke abstained from speculating on the government’s intentions, he stated that if the law is followed to run university operations without any meddling of bureaucrats, there would be little to worry about in terms of funding.
“The only problem is that it is not judicable, that’s the only problem so I said I don’t think this government from what we have seen is going to say we are going to hand off from university. But the autonomy is here, ignited in year 2003 . If we follow that law and allow it to run without interference from the bureaucrats, the university system would be fine.”
He added that if Nigeria budgeted more funds for education like countries in Europe are doing, the universities will have enough money to run their activities.
The ASUU don believes that allowing universities to function autonomously, following the provisions of the law, could result in an effective higher education system in Nigeria
He noted the Federal Government cannot shelve the provision of required funds for universities as the constitution demanded that it does so.
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE