Reps panel, Adamu differ on sack of five VCs
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Tuesday disagreed on the sack of five of the 12 vice chancellors recently announced by the Federal Government.
While the committee members held unto the argument that five of the VCs were sacked “illegally and unconstitutionally,” the minister at a meeting held at the National Assembly late said the government was right in its decision to remove them.
It would be recalled that the House had during one of its sessions last week approved a resolution tasking the Aminu Sulaiman-led panel to investigate the sack of the VCs of the federal universities in Oye-Ekiti, Birnin Kebbi, Gusau, Gashua and that of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) when their tenures had not expired.
But in his submission yesterday, the minister said the four VCs of the federal universities were removed because there was no law backing their appointments, while that of the NOUN was removed because he got an illegal extension from the council.
However, the committee chairman told the minister that based on provisions of the law, the visitor, in person of President Muhammadu Buhari, could only remove VCs after receiving a recommendation from the council and in consultation with the Senate, saying in the case of NOUN, there was a council in place, which never made such recommendation.
A member of the committee, Timothy Golu (PDP, Plateau) disagreed with the minister on the purported illegality of the existence of the four universities, saying, “You should advise that the institutions be closed down.”
Prof Mojeed Alabi (APC, Osun) also said the way the VCs were removed was characteristic of a military era where things were done with “impunity.”
When chairman of the committee further asked to know why the government could not wait for the council to be constituted before removing the VCs, the minister said he believed the president got different nominations from “the party, states and other sources.”
He contended that the president has the right to choose the person to appoint in the circumstance, insisting that the Miscellaneous Act supersedes any other act instituted by any university.
On why the NOUN council that extended the tenure of the sacked VC was still in place, Adamu said, “probably they will be punished later.”
Another member of the committee, Abbas Tajuddeen (APC, Kaduna) suggested that a technical committee be set up to interface with the minister, in view of the lack of clear understanding between the committee and the minister.
But the chairman said they did not have the luxury of time to do that.
Suleiman then adjourned the sitting while asking the minister to appear before the committee next Tuesday, with more facts on the matter to convince the lawmakers.
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