Abuja – The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition said the suspension of licences of six private universities by the National Universities Commission (NUC) would not affect academic programme of students.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Uzo Azubike, made this known at the opening of the public hearing in Abuja on Wednesday on the petition filed by Lead City University, Ibadan.
Azubike said that the committee had been assured on record that suspension of the licences of the six universities whether competent or not would not affect the continuation of the academic programmes in the institutions.
He said that according to NUC, the suspension of the operating licences would not affect students currently undergoing studies in approved programmes in these universities.
“The immediate implication of the suspension, therefore, is the cessation of admission of new entrants into each of the affected universities.
“Our worry is that with the level of insecurity in Nigeria, with the youth restiveness, with the terrorism, it may not be reasonable to push out this number of young people in to the streets.’’
“We are equally worried about it because this is an exercise that affect seven institutions, and the other one has willingly approached NUC to find ways of resolving the crisis.
“We hope that while academic programmes are ongoing, other issues can be ironed out gradually with time.’’
Azubike called on all affected universities and the NUC to settle their differences in order to move the education sector forward.
The six universities are Obong Ntak, Akwa Ibom, Madonna University, Okija, Cartias University, Enugu, Tansian University, Umunya.
Others are Achievers University, Owo and Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji.
The Deputy Executive Secretary of NUC, Mr Akinbode Agbaoye, said that the licences were suspended because of the institutions’ non-compliance with operational guidelines by the universities.
Agbaoye said that the commission was currently working with the universities to resolve the issues before the end of the current admission season in October.
While responding to the petition filed by Lead City University, Ibadan, Agbaoye said that the university had a history of complete disregard for the NUC’s regulatory role in the Nigeria University System.
“They have commenced academic programmes before the issuance of the operational licence as evidenced by the university attempt to mobilise students for NYSC in 2007/2008 barely two years after approval.
He said that the university had established a College of Law and Postgraduate school without requisite approval from the commission, among others.
Prof. Gabriel Ogunmola, Chancellor of Lead City University said that the university had always complied with all lawful directives of the NUC and that the commission had no justification to withdraw its licence.
Ogunmola said that all courses run by the institution were fully accredited.
He added that the accreditation of LL.B law programmes was being voided because NUC forgot to send a representative on the panel that carried out the accreditation exercise in 2008.
“The consequence of this is that the law students who graduated in 2009, 2010, 2011 are stuck and grounded with their ambition to become a lawyer in grave jeopardy.’’
He said that the university was in total support of the proposed forensic audit of all universities by NUC. (NAN)