Federal Government Cannot Cease Funding Public Universities, Asserts ASUU President

By Mohammed Bello Doka. 

In a recent interview on Channels TV 'Sunrise Daily', the president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, emphasized the irreplaceable role of the federal government in funding public universities. Dismissing the notion that the government could completely withdraw its financial support, he cited section 18 of the Constitution which enshrines the provision of free education at the university, primary, and secondary levels.

Prof Osodeke's comments were made in response to the statement made by the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, on September 11th. Prof Mamman had expressed the government's intention to grant full autonomy to universities in order to explore alternative methods of financing their operations. This move was prompted by the ongoing demands made by ASUU, which the government is unable to meet. Consequently, these demands have led to frequent strikes by the union, significantly affecting the academic calendar and resulting in extended completion times for students.

Highlighting the significance of government funding for public universities, Prof Osodeke maintained that it was grounded in the law and cannot be disregarded. He further stressed that any attempt to abandon this responsibility would not only violate the Constitution but also undermine the accessibility and quality of higher education in Nigeria.

As the debate surrounding the funding of tertiary education continues, both ASUU and the federal government must work together to find common ground and sustainable solutions that will ensure the stability and growth of public universities.

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