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Governors Establishing Varsities to Exploit TETFund – ASUU President

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Govs Establishing Varsities Eyeing TETFund – ASUU President

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, has slammed governors for establishing state universities they cannot fund, alleging that most governors duplicate universities in their states to get a piece of the pie that is the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

Prof Emmanuel Osodeke said a structure should be created for stakeholders to assess project needs of public universities before money is allocated by TETFund.

“Any governor today establishing a university is eyeing TETFund as a source of funding,” Osodeke said on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme on Thursday.

Governors Establishing Varsities to Exploit TETFund – ASUU President

He said though TETFund is supposed to be an intervention fund for public universities, politicians and civil servants have been it as a cash cow to be milked dry through shady procurement processes and contract fraud.

“TETFund was created as an intervention fund, not the major funding. The universities belong to the Federal Government and government is supposed to fund them and states are supposed to fund their own.

“It’s an intervention fund but there are people who wants to have access to that money from the political circle, from the bureaucratic circle, at all cost. We are struggling with that,” he said.

The ASUU president said a structure should be created to carry stakeholders along in the process of how the money is allocated and spent in an open and transparent manner. “There should be stakeholders’ meeting to assess what you want to do with the funds,” he said.

Osodeke added that the stakeholders should include the university community; lecturers, student groups to put an end “to the case you see today where somebody comes from the TETFund and say, ‘I have a project for you and I am going to be the contractor. We want an open project.”

“Every university council should be allowed to run their projects with the stakeholders involved.”

Osodeke further said ASUU is proud of fighting for the interest of the common man whose children won’t enjoy a university education but for the agitation of ASUU.

He said if not for the struggles of ASUU, there won’t be public universities in Nigeria any longer.

“Any day we give up like others, our public universities will be gone,” he said, adding that Federal Government officials are not interested in fixing the deplorable state of the tertiary education system in the country and not ready to grant the decade-old demands of ASUU.

On the meeting between ASUU members and Federal Government representatives on Wednesday, Osodeke said the meeting was the first official with the President Bola Tinubu administration.

He said ASUU discussed 2009 contentious issues with the Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, and his team in Abuja. Some of the 10-point issues include negotiation of agreement, payment of withheld salaries, payment of withheld earned academic allowances and consequential adjustments, amongst others.

Osodeke said ASUU would meet with its members and a decision would be made in the next four weeks.

TETFund was established as an intervention agency to provide supplementary support for public tertiary institutions in the area of rehabilitation of infrastructure, among others.

The Fund, with main source of income from 2% education tax paid from the assessable profit of companies registered in Nigeria, has been marred with allegations of embezzlement and contract fraud, with many stakeholders calling for transparency in the award of contracts. (Channels)

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