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VCs who divert TETFUND grant should be jailed – ASUU



The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, has said any vice-chancellor who misappropriates the grant given to their institution by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund in line deserves to be in jail.

He said the Federal Government should set up a panel to enquire into the utilisation of such funds, noting that several TETFund-funded projects were implemented late due to the lack of proper management of the funds.

The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approved N320bn as 2023 intervention fund for public tertiary education institutions.

He said at the annual strategic planning workshop with all heads of beneficiary institutions that the meeting was an avenue to receive feedback and evaluate the performance of its intervention lines to enhance a more robust delivery of the agency’s mandate.

According to him, each public university will receive N1,154,732,133.00; each polytechnic will receive N699,344,867.00 while N800,862,602 will go to each college of education.

The ASUU President however said in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, “You don’t need to hold the university, students and parents responsible, hold the vice-chancellors responsible to explain why they cannot retire the funds, and if they didn’t do what they should do, jail them. The university’s money is put somewhere and the value is reduced and even if the VC mismanages the fund, Nigeria’s money is wasted.

“In some universities, their funds will accumulate within four to five years, with the value reducing. Go to campuses and see. Check the date of the TETFUND projects, you will see either 2012 or 2013 but it was completed in 2023. A difference of more than five years but nobody is being punished, judicial panels are not sent, and even if they are sent, the reports are not released. Those are the problems we are fighting in the system.

“On these bases, we went on strike and we said the government should set up a panel to look at what the institutions are doing with the funds and we had to force them with a strike action. It’s more than two years now but they have yet to release the report.”

Asked the impact the FG’s N320,345,040,835 intervention fund for public tertiary education institutions would achieve for the sector, Osodeke said TETFund should ensure proper disbursement of the fund.

He added, “It will improve the system as it has been doing since inception. It is an intervention by an agency and by the companies paying tax; it is not a funding model. The Federal Government should do its own. If this TETFUND money is well monitored and disbursed, it will have a great impact, but today it’s not.

“There are some universities that have not accessed their TETFUND money in the last three to four years, because the rule is that until you retire the old fund, you cannot access the new one. Some universities are still working on the 2019 TETFund which means the money is just wasting there.

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