Vice-Chancellors of some Federal universities collected over N480, 000 as furniture allowance monthly, National Universities Commission (NUC) chief Abubakar Rasheed has said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is probing financial irregularities levelled against some of the Vice Chancellors and Bursars of federal universities.
Prof. Rasheed broke the news at a workshop on economic recovery and growth for bursars of Federal universities yesterday in Abuja.
He accused some of the VCs of financial irregularities, flouting financial regulations and non-compliance with university regulations, especially extant federal circulars emanating from government agencies.
Rasheed spoke of a large disparity in the university system’s salary scale. He alleged that some VCs were living big in terms of salary and allowances, adding that some receive above a million while others receive less.
According to him, many universities allow their VCs to collect about N480,000 furniture allowance and N90,000 Duty Tour Allowance when top civil servants in the Education ministry collect about N20,000 as Duty Tour Allowance.
Acting EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu has fixed a meeting with bursars and the VCs who are under the agency’s investigation for this week.
Rasheed said: “There are many areas where you have to put your heads together. We have a lot of problems and you know them. If we may ask you as bursars in federal universities, what salaries do you pay your Vice-Chancellors? You will see that there may be as many salaries as there are many universities here. And this is one of the sources of crises.
”If all the 40 federal universities pay one single salary to all the VCs, that problem will have been resolved. This is why many of the university people are being taken to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
"The EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, is coming to my office this week to pay a courtesy visit. He wants me to even arrange a meeting with the VCs and bursars. The EFCC is investigating so many universities as you are aware. One of the areas being investigated by the EFCC is the Furniture Allowance.
”Many universities fail to interpret what we mean by the Furniture Allowance. Common sense tells us that the government will never allocate N5.77m as furniture allowance to the VC. Yet many bursars in many universities allow vice chancellors to take N480, 000 monthly as furniture allowance and you know it is wrong.
”This is why whenever the EFCC comes, there is crisis, and the VCs and the bursars are the easy targets. This interaction is to address these issues.”
The NUC boss also said the federal government would not grant full autonomy to public universities.
He explained that in view of the fact that public universities rely on government subventions to operate, granting them autonomy would be tantamount to throwing away its regulatory rights, especially checking financial excesses in the institutions.
This position may pitch the NUC against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which has always included right to full autonomy in demands put before government over the years.
The NUC Executive Secretary accused most universities management of not being proactive in sourcing for funds locally, adding that: “rather they wait on government for grants, yet claim that they can regulate themselves”.
”There is no way government can totally grant autonomy to universities when all their funding comes from government source. Most of the universities can hardly generate enough funds for themselves, so you don’t expect government to give you money and don’t have a say on how such monies would be used,” Rasheed said.