Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has given reasons for the sudden removal of 12 university Vice Chancellors and their immediate replacements.
Adamu told the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services that he acted on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive and that the replacements were nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Adamu, who appeared Tuesday before the Committee, admitted that the candidates appointed for the positions were nominated by the ruling party.
He explained that the President only exercised his powers under Section 3 sub-sections 6 and 7 of the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1999 as the visitor to the universities.
According to Adamu, “the candidates appointed for the Vice Chancellor positions were nominated by the party. The President only exercised his powers under Section 3 sub-sections 6 and 7 of the Universities Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1999 on the sack of the five Vice Chancellors”.
He told the Committee that the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan established these universities indiscriminately and that the sacking of five Vice Chancellors was because they were illegally appointed since those institutions were established illegally.
Chairman of the Committee, Aminu Suleiman told the Minister that there were serious concerns by education stakeholders on the manner the vice chancellors were removed.
Suleiman revealed that there were pockets of mass protests on the matter which prompted the House to adopt a motion mandating the Committee to investigate the matter and report back to the Reps.
Not satisfied with the Minister’s position, Suleiman said the law was clear that a Vice Chancellor could only be removed on the grounds of misconduct or inability to perform the functions of his/her office.
“For you to tell me that there are no laws governing these 12 universities is wrong. The only thing you can tell me is that the law is not gazetted. To that extent, it is wrong to have acted on that basis,” he stated.
The Committee subsequently asked the Minister to re-appear before it next week Tuesday, with facts and more convincing reasons for the sack, adding that the Committee has two weeks to submit its report to the House.
Recall that on February 12, 2016, the Federal Government announced the removal of the 12 Vice Chancellors and appointment of their replacements.
While five of the Vice Chancellors were sacked, the other seven were dis-engaged after serving out their tenure.
The development had since been criticised and condemned by stakeholders, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU that said the president’s decision amounted to a violation of the rule of law.