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Nigerian lecturers spend research grants on cars, houses – TETFund

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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has accused lecturers across the country’s public tertiary institutions of diverting research grants to build homes, purchase cars, and engage in other frivolous activities.

This is coming days after an allegation of personnel budget inflation levelled against some academic and healthcare institutions including the University of Ibadan, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), was made public.

Making the fresh allegation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, TETFund’s director of research and development, Salihu Bakari, said huge sums of money made available to the individual lecturers, and sometimes their teams for research exercises, conference attendance, among others, are usually misappropriated.

Mr Bakari spoke at a capacity building workshop organised by the agency for select staffers of research and development units from some of the public tertiary institutions, as parts of efforts aimed at rejigging research activities in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Mr Bakari, while responding to questions from the participants on the introduction of ‘stringent’ conditions by the agency, especially in the allocation of grants, noted that the culture of impunity, breach of trust, and violations of funding agreements and rules of engagement by the lecturers is unimaginable.

He said: “It is sad to note that public funds made available to lecturers to conduct groundbreaking and demand-driven researches towards solving Nigeria’s socio-economic, and even political challenges, are misappropriated by those who are expected to be above board. I mean the beneficiaries of our grants.

“Through our recovery efforts, we had traced monies to houses built by lecturers with the public fund; there are cases of cars purchased with the money, without any research work done. And these are the people who would be accusing politicians of being corrupt.”

He also accused many of the institutions of committing worse crimes.

He said TETFund’s new policy engagement, introduction of strict conditions, and the process towards recovering public funds misappropriated by both the individual lecturers and institutions, will help to reduce malfeasance across various campuses.

More funds, less applicants

Meanwhile, the agency has further accused the institutions and their lecturers of not accessing huge funds available at the organisation for research activities and development of innovative programmes.

According to Mr Bakari, the agency is shifting its focus from infrastructural development of the higher institutions to content development.

He said globally, high-flying academic institutions are no longer known to occupy large space but are recognised with their innovative ideas, rich content and advancements in technology.

However, he lamented that as much as the agency is trying to democratise access to its large pool of resources, “lecturers and their institutions are not coming forward to access the funds.”

“Today, we have decided to shift our focus and we have opened more doors of opportunities for both the lecturers and their institutions to attract funds to showcase their expertise. But what do we see? No one is coming for the funds.

“For instance, as at 2019, out of 220 public tertiary institutions that are eligible to access our funds for journal publications, only 26 applied. We now also have financial interventions in the areas of manuscript development, ICT development, basic research fund, national research fund, advocacy, among others.”

‘Paradigm shift’

Major facilitators at the conference, including Nigeria-born Ibrahim Katampe of the Centre for Excellence in Emerging Technologies at the Central State University, USA; Olufemi Bamiro, former vice-chancellor of University of Ibadan, among others, said they have keyed into TETFund’s new vision.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on the sidelines of the opening programme at the conference, Mr Katampe, a professor, said no nation develops above the quality of her researchers.

He said for Nigeria to reclaim her lost glory and combat the socio-economic and political challenges including insecurity, poverty, hunger and diseases, quality researches that are demand-driven must be constantly carried out by the country’s academics

“Things must change back home. Our experiences have shown that holding a serious workshop like this in Nigeria will only be counterproductive. Apart from distractions, absenteeism and nonchalance on the part of participants that we may encounter, real-time facilities for demonstrations are also not available back home.

“But now that TETFund is changing its focus from building constructions to content development, we want to believe it is time for positive change in the areas of research and development in our tertiary institutions. We are committed to this because we have got no other home apart from Nigeria, and no foreigners would fix our problems for us.”

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BUSINESS

Buhari Has Failed Nigeria – Northern Elders Forum

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The Professor Ango Abdullahi- led Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has risen from its meeting in Zaria on Sunday with a verdict that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigeria.

It said Buhari has failed to tackle insecurity and improve the economy.

The forum lamented that the Buhari -led government appeared helpless in finding solutions to insecurity as well as poverty in the country.

Addressing Journalists shortly after the meeting convened by the chairman of the forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, the forum’s Director, Advocacy and Engagements of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmad, said poverty, particularly in the North and massive social security have worsened under Buhari’s administration.

In attendance at the meeting were: Abdullahi, former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alamin Daggash (retd); Secretary of the Coalition of Northern Groups, Abdullahi Usman and Ambassador Yahaya Kwande; Deputy National Chairman of NEF, Alhaji Bello Kirfi (Wazirin Bauchi), DIG Labaran Wurno, Alhaji Yakubu Shehu and former MD, defunct Bank of the North, Hajiya Amina Yahaya, among others.

Baba-Ahmed stated categorically that NEF had before the 2019 elections warned Nigerians that Buhari lacked the will, competence and commitment to lead the country into a secure and prosperous future.

While noting that the relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, the Northern Elders said, the current administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.

Speaking on the 2023 Presidential election, the Forum said the north will only support candidate who can find solutions to problems bedevilling the region.

According to Dr. Baba-Ahmed: “Northern Elders Forum has refrained from comments on major developments relating to management of national security and governance because it is convinced that these are times which require the highest levels of responsibility and circumspection in the manner elders and leaders in the nation contribute to the search for solutions to the multiple problems which face the nation.

“It has become necessary and appropriate, however, to make public, the position of the Forum on important matters that affect the manner Nigerians live, and the future we must address.

“The Forum regrets that by any standard of judgement, the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation in the vital area of improving its security. Poverty, particularly in the North, and massive social security have worsened under this administration. The relationship between insecurity and poverty is fundamental, but the administration does not appear to have any idea on what will provide relief or solution.

“It gives the Forum no pleasure to say that it had warned Nigerians that President Buhari lacked the will, the competence and commitment to lead it into a secure and prosperous future before the 2019 elections.

“It is shocking that in spite of unprecedented consensus among Nigerians that the administration requires a new resolve, approach and leadership in the fight against the nation’s multiple security challenges, President Buhari appears either totally isolated or in deep denial over the result of his failures to secure Nigerians.

“With this type of mind set, it is difficult to see how President Buhari can accept the challenge to radically improve his handling of our security situation. Nonetheless, we believe that Nigerians must continue to raise our voices and organize through all legitimate means to demand that the administration addresses major failings in his perception of our situation and his response to our demands for our rights to security.

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Reno to Sanwo-olu: Why banning Okada, Keke, others, when Boko Haram is recruiting

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Ex-aide to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Pastor Reno Omokri has faulted the banning of commercial motorcycle, popularly known as Okada, keke, and others in Lagos.

He asked the Lagos state government if it was not aware of Boko Haram recruitment, noting that Lagos should expect surge in terrorism and insecurity.

The reason given by the state was to secure lives and properties of Lagosians.

“The figures are scary. From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the General Hospitals alone. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as of date”, said Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso.

But reacting against its implementation, the outspoken Reno averred,

“We are already the world headquarters for extreme poverty, and you ban commercial motorcyclist?

“What do you expect the over one million motorcyclist to do? What about their dependents. You render them unemployed, meanwhile Boko Haram is employing.

“You do this type of thing gradually. As you are gradually doing it, you are also gradually creating alternative means of livelihood.

“It is not rocket science to predict what is going to happen. You don’t have to be a prophet. Expect a surge in terrorism and insecurity in Lagos in particular, and Nigeria in general “Where there is no vision, the people perish”-Proverbs 29:18”.

Source: Vanguard

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