ASUU ABU Calls For Ending  Usurpation Of Powers Of  University Council

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By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria

The Ahmadu Bello University  branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU ABU) has noted, with apprehension, recent events bordering on the alleged usurpation of powers of University Governing Councils by the Minister of Education with the active collaboration of Vice Chancellors.

Addressing a press conference at the union secretariat in Samaru, the branch chairman, Professor Haruna M Jibrin said this illegality undermines the sacred university autonomy, being a product of a persistent and noble struggle for a better nigerian university system. 

He said the autonomy is deeply embedded in extant laws among which is section 2 AAA of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003. 

“Specific ways adopted by Vice Chancellors to usurp the powers of university councils include, but are not limited to the creation of the office of a Deputy Vice Chancellor (third Deputy Vice Chancellor in the case of Ahmadu Bello University). 

“Confronted with a recent incident here at the Ahmadu Bello University, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) proactively engaged the University administration, demanding the immediate stoppage of the election of a third Deputy Vice Chancellor that had been scheduled to hold during the recently held 534″ (Regular) meeting of the Senate”. 

According to him, ASUU ABU reports that, following a letter of protest from ASUU to the Vice Chancellor, the said creation of the office of a third Deputy Vice Chancellor in the absence of a Governing Council violates the laws governing the affairs of Ahmadu Bello University.

The union also argued that at the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 199 , 3 and the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003 confer the power to create the office of a Deputy Vice Chancellor solely on the Council of a University. 

According to the ASUU, Section 2AAA of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003, provides that “the powers of the Council, shall be exercised, as in the Law and Statutes of each University and to that extent, establishment circulars that are inconsistent with the laws shall not apply to the universities. 

“By this section, approvals from the Minister of Education, especially on matters that do not threaten the ordinary cause of business of the University, but which conflict with extant laws have no binding force. 

“We, at the Ahmadu Bello University Branch of ASUU, hold strongly that the sad developments that are currently being witnessed in the universities are exacerbated by the failure of the government to immediately reconstitute councils as section 2A of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003 demands.

 “Mindful of its far reaching positive impact, ASUU holds University autonomy in high regard and has, therefore, consistently clamoured for its actualization; something that can be entrenched only by allowing the various organs (including and especially Councils) of the University to carry out their exclusive statutory collegial functions”. 

The chairman noted that this clamour is reflected in the decades-long struggle embarked upon by the union; from the call for the empowerment of councils, to outright rejection of imposition of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), 

Against this background, ASUU called on the government to immediately appoint external members of the council so that an indispensable University organ, the Council, is properly constituted to carry out its vital functions.

The union also enjoined vice chancellors to rather insist on the appointment of external members of councils. 

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