The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has described the statement of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Adeola as ridiculous and irresponsible. The student association noted that his statement was a sign he lacks understanding of how the government should operate.
Within Nigeria obtained a video where Solomon Adeola, during day 5 of an interactive session recently held between the committee of finance and revenue generated agencies, urged the government to rethink funding government-owned tertiary Institutions, their salaries as well as recurrent expenditure. He also told students to request from their various universities how revenue generated is being spent.
“ How do we explain to the whole world for a university that generates an average of 15/16 billion a year and being spent, and aside that the FG would still go ahead to pay their salaries, pay their recurrent and also pay the capital of that institution and the end of the day the lecturers would go on strike
“ It is high time for FG to stop the funding of universities to the extent of salaries or recurrent expenditures. I think the Nigerian students to start asking questions, how do you spend the money generated by this institution,” he said
However, in a statement signed by the NANS Southwest Coordinator, Adegboye Olatunji, the student association said that the lawmaker is ignorant.
“We were expecting Senator Solomon to know better. But, Alas, we were proven wrong by his sheer display of ignorance. We could have categorized it as wilful ignorance but it is obvious that the Senator does not understand what the business of governance is.
“We may conclude that Senator Solomon and other members of the Committee like many other government officials out there are lacking the knowledge of what Section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) says on the enforcement of public education right in Nigeria.
“It is also disturbing that these same people forget that they appoint members of Governing Councils for these institutions. And, if the import of what Senator Solomon is saying is that they are not aware of how the generated revenue is being spent, the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education has been nailed of inefficiency.
“As much as we know, fees are now being paid to the purse of the Federal Government through Remita. Meanwhile, the essence of the Treasury Single Account is to enhance government revenue generation and to ensure transparency and accountability in government expenditure. Unfortunately, revenue leakages are still rampant in several ministries thereby defeating the purpose of the TSA.” he said
Olatunji posited that successive governments in the country have failed to invest in the educational sector and it is a shameful act to blame ASUU for the lack of proper management of national resources.
“ What we can make out of the embarrassing statement of the Senator is that the Senate Committee on Finance is indirectly saying that Public Universities should be privatized. The question we ask them is how well are the privatized national corporations like water, power, etc functioning if not that this same government still gives them bailout funds after selling them?” he said
The student association called on the Federal Government to invest massively in public education, making it free and functional, or face further protests in different parts of the country.
“We maintain that education remains a right and the Nigerian State must be mandated to fund the same. Even in advanced countries where their institutions are self-dependent with huge endowment funds, the government still does follow up by budgeting heavily for the institutions. ” Olatunji said