The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday inaugurated a seven-member panel to assess the status of all projects executed with the take-off grants received by the newly established 12 federal universities.
Mr. Adamu, while inaugurating the panel in Abuja, advised them to discharge their responsibilities with the fear of God.
He noted that the members were chosen on the basis of their proven integrity and hard earned reputation, saying they should bring all these qualities to bear on the different aspects of the assignment in addition to professionalism.
According to him, in order to achieve the critical roles of universities, the present government has shown strong commitment to tackling the challenges facing the Nigerian university system.
“Towards addressing this acute problem at the federal level, 12 additional universities were established by the Federal Government between 2011 and 2013.
“These universities are federal universities in Lokoja, Lafia, Kashere, Wukari, Dutsin-Ma, Dutse, Ndufu-Alike, Oye- Ekiti, Otuoke, Birnin Kebbi, Gusau and Gashua.
“The 12 universities were provided with grants to enable them to effectively meet their operational recurrent expenditure and most importantly, capital expenditure towards the execution of their various take-off projects,” he said.
Mr. Adamu stressed the need for an audit panel to be set up to further consolidate the funding of these universities to enable them achieve their overriding objectives.
He added that the audit was also necessary as a result complaints and petitions from stakeholders and clients including the vice chancellors of the 12 universities as well as campus based unions and community leaders.
He noted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was also currently investigating a number of allegations of financial impropriety arising from the utilisation of the take- off grants in some of the universities such as Kashere, Dutsun-Ma and Otuoke.
Mr. Adamu listed the members as Olufemi Bamiro as the chairman, Salihu Abubakar, Mansur Ahmed, Umar Aliyu, Freddy Ezenwa, Patrick Oshio and Kefas Magaji as members.
The minister said the panel had been given 12 weeks to effectively carry out their assignments in these universities.
He, however, commended the panel for accepting to undertake the assignment while urging them to give it the diligence and seriousness it deserved.
Responding, Mr. Bamiro, a professor, promised to justify the confidence the federal government has reposed in the committee.
Mr. Bamiro, who was the former vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan, said the report that would be generated at the end of the 12 weeks duration would be used to advance the cause of the institutions.
“Covering the 12 universities is a huge task but we will ensure that we work hard to deliver within the duration given by the minister.
“It is the report that will help the system to identify what has happened and see how we prevent future occurrence.
“The report must contain the way forward on what the government must be doing to make sure the universities are able to advance.
“We promise that the confidence reposed in us will not be misplaced,” he said.
Source: Premium Times