According to The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, many Vice Chancellors and Bursars of some Federal Universities are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) due to financial irregularities.
Rasheed said it is wrong that many Vice Chancellors hide under Universities’ autonomy to commit so many irregularities and flagrant disregard to government extant circulars and financial regulations.
Rasheed, spoke in Abuja on Tuesday in a meeting he held with Federal Universities Bursars and Finance Officers of Inter-University Centres.
He revealed investigation showed that some Vice Chancellors appropriate to themselves about N480,000 monthly as furniture allowance, which he said was wrong.
He said it was also observable that Vice Chancellors of the same Federal Universities were paid salaries without uniformity.
He said: “EFCC Chairman is coming later this week to pay a courtesy visit and he wants me to arrange a meeting with the Vice Chancellors and Bursars possibly next month because they are investigating so many universities and you are aware.”
“Government will not give 1.5 million annually as furniture allowance. Yet many Bursars in many universities allow many Vice Chancellors to take 480,000 monthly only for furniture allowance and you know it is wrong.”
“This is why whenever EFCC comes or there are crises or petitions, the Bursars and VC’s are the main target honestly,” he said.
Rasheed insisted that the universities could not claim total autonomy when the institution rely on the Federal Government’s funding.
He said: “The autonomy is limited. We cannot have total autonomy when we rely on funding from government. We, therefore, cannot run away from accountability system put in place by the government.”
The executive secretary made it clear to the institutions that NUC does not generate extant circulars but only act as a channel for conveying the circulars to the universities and as such all institutions must respect government policies and extant regulations.
He said the meeting was coming at a time when the present government was facing serious issues concerning revenue generation and management.
“The significance of this meeting is to foster close collaboration with the National Universities Commission as a regulator and the Nigerian University System in areas of implementing government accounting policies, applications of extant federal circulars and adoption of common accounting and reporting platform, and to intervene on several challenges facing the Nigerian University System,” he said.
He also gave directions that all universities must abide to Presidential Order and ensure the application of extant federal circulars.
He added that the universities and Bursars should be interested in the new Economic Recovery Plan of the Federal government.
Rasheed called on the Bursars to be honest and appropriate in their financial reporting, saying they should promote transparency, accountability and efficiency in the operations of the Nigerian universities.
He further revealed that the Federal Government would soon licence more private universities in the country, saying the Commission is currently processing about 240 applications for establishment of new private universities.