Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana SAN, has charged universities administrations across Nigeria to strengthen students’ unionism as a means of confronting official corruption in the ivory towers.
Falana spoke at the launch of a report tagged: “Stealing the Future: How Federal Universities in Nigeria Have Been Stripped Apart by Corruption”. The event, held at CITI-Heights Hotel, Opebi Link, Lagos, was organised by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Falana frowned at universities administrations for their persistent interference in Students’ Union Government in higher institutions across the country.
He challenged the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to reinstate without further delay, its Students’ Union Government (SUG) banned several years ago.
Falana also called for the implementation of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND law, as he expressed sadness that funds allocated to the universities across the country are not well managed.
He said, “It is sad that Students’ Union association has been relegated to the background by university administration in the county.
“During our time, we have vibrant student union grounded to engage university authorities in superior argument. What we are having now is a Student Union that is impotent or banned by administration.
“One of the cases is that of UNILAG which banned their student government for the past 12 years. I want to use this opportunity to call on the school’s management to lift ban on their activities.
“For the universities in the country to be vibrant, SUG must be strengthened to confront the tyrants stealing and mismanaging the universities in Nigeria.”
Dr. Dixon-Ogbechi of the Department of Business Administration (UNILAG), while presenting the report advocated stiffer penalty for official corruption in the universities in Nigeria.
She said that National Universities Commission should blacklist lecturers and university staffers found guilty of official corruption to serve as deterrence to others.
“NUC should blacklist officials found guilty of official corruption. This recommendation should be part of its checklist before approval is given for the establishment of university in the country,” she said.