President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, challenged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to first of all tackle the issues of sorting, plagiarism as well as sexual harassment allegedly bedevilling some of the Universities in the country rather than directing their criticisms only on perceived inadequacies of government.
Buhari stated this while speaking at the 25th convocation ceremony of the University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State held at the institution’s main campus along Nwaniba road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Represented by the Executive Secretary National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the President said it was disturbing for ASUU to look away from issues of plagiarism, sorting and sexual harassment plaguing the university system, adding that such aspect of academic corruption should also be of concern to ASUU. .
According to the statement, “Permit me to share my thought with the Academic Staff Union of Universities. I commend them for being a loud voice for the revitalization of university education in Nigeria over the years.
“However, I want to challenge them to throw their searchlight on the issues of corporate governance of their various institutions.
“It would amount to unwholesome critical posturing if their criticism is directed at the perceived failure of government alone while they look away at obvious governance inadequacies of their own institution, right under their nose.
“It would give credence and credibility to their fearless critical stance with regard to the government if they address internal university management flaws with equal and unsparing forthrightness.
“It is very disheartening to hear about the increase in incidents of plagiarism, sorting and sexual harassment in many universities in the country. These aspects of academic corruption should also be of concern to ASUU and indeed the academia as a whole.
“We should be able to look up to the university as a citadel of probity, accountability, transparency, critical inquiry and freedom.“
In his goodwill message, Governor of Akwa Ibom State,Udom Emmanuel lauded the significant strides the University of Uyo had made over the years and pledged that his administration would continue to support development efforts of the institution.
“Let me commend the management of the University for the strides recorded academic and physical development over the years. We have supported this institution before but we will continue to support you for greater heights,” Emmanuel said.
In his address, the Vice-chancellor of the University, Prof Enefiok Essien, congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel and Chancellor of the University, Alh. Abubakar Maje for their unwavering commitment to the development of the institution.
He said the University has made steady progress over the years, recording great feats in so many fields of endeavours, adding that to meet the changing needs of the larger society, the university evolved new academic programmes, created new departments and modified new ones to accommodate global best practices.
The Professor of law who noted that the institution had made significant progress in physical development and staff welfare, however, lamented inadequate funding for the university.
He said the university despite repeated pleas and requests was not given any take-off grant at creation, saying that has contributed greatly to the inability of the institution to meet challenges of security and expansion.