Written by Godfrey AKON

FG won’t reverse decision on sacked VCs - Adamu

Despite widespread condemnation that has continued to trail the Federal Government’s decision to sack 13 vice chancellors of universities, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has maintained that government won’t reverse the dismissal.

Adamu, who until the time of this report could not adduce reasons for booting out even VCs’ whose tenures were yet to expire, allayed fears of any litigation over the dismissal, stating that the education ministry was looking at complaints emanating from the action.

Addressing journalists in Abuja after the flag off of the 2015/2016 annual school census, the minister said “look, do you reverse government decisions simply because somebody has criticised them? I don’t think there is any decision of government that goes down well with everyone.”

On the sacking of vice chancellors, whose tenures had not expired, Adamu said “the ministry has received some representation from people who feel like this, so we are looking at it.”

Until now, the standard practice for appointment or dismissal of VCs in the country’s universities has been through the universities’ Governing Councils, as the institutions are assumed autonomous.

However, the Committee of Vice Chancellors, in a statement, maintained that Adamu usurped their statutory function by sacking and appointing new vice chancellors, describing the action as a minus for the university system.

The statement, signed by the Committee’s Secretary, Prof. Michael Faborade, said the government had a day earlier, unceremoniously dissolved the governing councils of the 12 new federal universities established by former President Goodluck Jonathan, but noted that the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN still had its council intact.

The Committee called for the avoidance of any government policy that could connote a denigration of the exulted office of the vice chancellors, as they are central to the university system which has a lot to offer to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups, CCSG, has accused Adamu, of misleading President Muhammadu Buhari over what it terms “illegal sacking of 13 Vice Chancellors” of Federal Universities.

The group, which barricaded the National Assembly gate and also disrupted activities at the Ministry of Education Headquarters in Abuja, while protesting the decision, alleged that Adamau had misinformed Buhari to sign the dismissal of the VCs.

Comrade Etuk Bassey, president of the group, said sacking the VCs breached the provisions of the universities Miscellaneous Act no. 11 of 1993, which assigned autonomy to universities without government interference.

Etuk decried the impunity and distortion of procedures for appointment of VCs into universities, stating that the action was unacceptable.

He wondered why the minister was in a hurry to carry out his actions which contravened the universities miscellaneous provision act, stressing that he may have acted based on his ignorance of what university autonomy is all about.

In a swift reaction, an appointee to the office of chairman of the Governing Council of Federal University Dutse, Hajia Najatu Muhammed, declined her appointment, citing personal reasons and the fact that she was not consulted before the appointment.

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