According to the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the government cannot completely stop funding universities as the constitution requires it to provide the necessary funds.
Osodeke made this statement in response to a report where the Minister of Education Prof. Tahir Mamman suggested that universities should have full autonomy to find alternative to 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.
Osodeke believes that as long as university operations are not interfered with by bureaucrats and the law is followed, funding should not be a major concern.
“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.