The Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Wednesday in Abuja staged a protest at the Ministry of Education over the disengagement of 13 vice-chancellors by the Minister of Education.
The Chairman of the coalition, Mr Bassey Etuk, said that the action of Malam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, was illegal.
NAN recalls that Adamu had announced during the weekend, the appointment of new vice-chancellors for 12 Federal Universities and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
The affected universities are Federal University, Lafia, Nasarawa State, Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State, Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, and Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State.
Others are Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State, Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Federal University, Ndufe-Alike, Ebonyi State, and Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Also affected are Federal University Gashua, Yobe State, Federal University, Gasau, Zamfara State, and Federal University, Kebbi.
According to Etuk, sacking the vice-chancellors and replacing them with people mostly from the same region violated the Federal Character principles.
Some of the placards had the inscription “Six Professors were taken from Bayero University, Kano, as replacements; Why?”
“The tenures of nine of the 13 sacked vice-chancellors expired this Monday, but four others still have their tenure running; some have two years; some have one year and six months.
“What he did, which is most disrespectful to the laws of the land, is that he appointed six people – his friends from one university.
“He appointed six professors from one university, Bayero University, Kano, and he posted them to different tertiary institutions.
“Not only that, he also appointed two professors from Katsina State, making it eight friends from just two states in north.”
Etuk said that the essence of the protest was to tell the minister that Nigeria was not a sectional country.
According to him, Nigeria remains an indivisible country; hence nobody should be allowed to play up sentiments either with the economy or the education sector.
He said that the academic community had been existing peacefully, adding that nobody would be allowed to change it.
Etuk called for the reversal of the decision.
The chairman said that the coalition was considering legal action to stop the sack as the tenure of five of the sacked vice-chancellors had yet to expire
“Let us agree with him that what he did was wrong; that he did it in haste.
“We are here to tell him that he should please reverse that decision within 48 hours or we will call for his resignation,” he said.
An official of the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that Adamu was attending Federal Executive Council meeting at the time of the protest; hence no official reaction from the ministry.
NAN recalls that the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC) had also criticised the appointment of new vice-chancellors for the 13 universities which, it said, violated the University Miscellaneous Act. (NAN)
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