According to the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the government cannot completely stop funding universities as it is required by the constitution to provide the necessary funds.
He made this statement during an interview with Channels Television.
Osodeke responded to a report in which the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, suggested that the government would grant universities full autonomy to explore new sources of funding.
“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 did not speculate on the government’s intentions, he mentioned that if the university operations are free from bureaucratic interference, there would be little concern about 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 hands 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.