Virtually a yr after it constituted particular visitation panels, the Federal Ministry of Training in Could acquired the stories of the panels established to look at the state of affairs at Nigeria’s tertiary establishments, a couple of yr after the disaster of management that rocked the College of Lagos led to the structure of the panels.

Receiving the report, the Minister of Training, Malam Adamu Adamu assured members of the ‘2021 Presidential Visitation Panels to Federal Universities, Inter-College Centres, Polytechnics and Faculties of Training’ that efforts could be made to make sure the implementation of the suggestions of the stories to forestall a waste of time and sources.

Adamu additionally said that the draft White Paper could be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari whose prerogative it was to subsequently situation a Federal Authorities official White Paper after the report endure the required inside processes.

Among the many stories contained within the submission was that produced by the Basic Martin Luther Agwai (rtd)-led panel to the College of Lagos (UNILAG), which was submitted to the Ministry in June 2021.

The Agwai panel visited UNILAG on the heels of a disaster of management that rocked the establishment following the choice of the Governing Council to droop the Vice Chancellor based mostly on its findings that the administration of the Establishment was riddled by monetary shenanigans.

Though the disaster led to the dissolution of the Council, led by Dr. Wale Babalakin and the reinstatement of the beforehand suspended Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin. T. Ogundipe by the federal authorities, the Agwai panel endorsed the findings of the Council’s personal committee that was set as much as assessment expenditure of the College between Could 2017 until 2019.

The committee, created by the Governing Council on September 5, 2018, was headed by a council member, Dr Saminu Dagari. It had as its members, Rev. Yomi M. Kasali (council member); Mr Oladejo Azeez (College Registrar); Mrs. Adepoju Adefope (deputy bursar); Mrs Adeoluwa Folami (Secretary) and Otunba Olutola Senbo (marketing consultant). Its phrases of reference had been twofold: assessment the expenditure of the College of Lagos since Could 2017 until date and; make advice to Council based mostly on the findings of the sub-committee.

The committee held 14 conferences between October 2018 and February 2019, met with all key officers of the establishment and reviewed all books regarding the funds. Its report, a replica of which was seen by The Guardian, revealed a surprising stage of mismanagement of the sources of the college inside the interval underneath assessment and even earlier than it.

Take contract funds for the availability of waste administration and cleansing providers for instance. The committee’s report states that “fee had been permitted by the Vice Chancellor for a complete quantity of N57, 372, 050.44 for providers with none proof of approval by Tenders Board and F&GPC and with none legitimate contract…This can be a manifest case of non-compliance with provisions of the College Monetary Laws which can result in monetary abuse.”

The identical was the scenario with contract funds for upkeep and janitorial providers for college students’ halls of residence. The committee famous in its report that the splitting of the fee into janitorial and upkeep ‘is a violation of Article 3 of the contract settlement.’

“The full expenditure incurred on Upkeep and Janitorial providers for College students’ Halls of Residence within the College for the interval 1st November to thirty first October 2017 was N105, 927,528.18. The funds made had been above the contract sum by N30, 727,528.18. There was no proof of renewal of contracts for providers rendered from 1st November 2017 to thirtieth April 2018.”

It additionally famous that ‘disbursements to the contractors had been in extra of the contract worth by N122, 516, 956.94.”

Contract Splitting And Fats Safety Grants
The committee additionally found the apply of contract splitting within the buy of automobiles within the 2017 monetary yr. Particularly, the report indicated that, “there was contract splitting amounting to N52, 080, 000.00 for the acquisition of two Toyota Avensis, which was above the brink restrict of the Tenders Board. The expenditure must have been routed by the Finance and Basic Function Committee to the governing council.”

On the college’s expenditure on safety, the report highlighted what the committee stated was manifest proof of budgetary overspending for 2017 by administration, opposite to monetary laws. It famous that there was no contractual settlement supporting the engagement of two personal safety outfits (Shelter Guards and the Nigerian Legion) and referred to as for the cessation of fee of month-to-month safety grants to the Dean (Pupil Affairs Unit).

“The committee couldn’t justify the month-to-month fee of a median sum of N2, 445,900.00 to the Dean, Pupil Affairs Unit, as a safety grant. When requested why he was gathering the cash, the Dean of College students Affairs defined, “they had been a part of the safety operations to keep up peace on campus,” the report said.

In its advice to the council, the committee said that the regime of approval on the college was open to critical abuse. It states that, “there was constant, brazen, manifest and gross mismanagement of the College funds by previous and current administration, which was characterised by contract awards with out recourse to due course of; fee with out legitimate contracts and approvals, and contracts overpayments.

Others are: “Contract splitting by Vice Chancellors and college tenders board; over budgetary spending; frequent official travels and expenditure with out due approval by the governing council.”

The committee, amongst different suggestions, urged the governing council to ‘take acceptable motion on all instances of monetary mismanagement uncovered.”

The report of the committee was certainly adopted by the Basic Agwai visitation panel, which additionally famous in its personal report that the “Governing Council needs to be protected in opposition to any loophole in any Act that appears like undermining the supervisory position of the Governing Council.”

It states, inter alia, that, “the panel’s consideration was drawn to Professor Ogundipe’s personally signed protection of the allegations in opposition to him within the Dr Dagari report. Prof Ogundipe’s protection was rigorously studied. He didn’t deny any of those allegations and there seems to be no legitimate justification in regulation for all his defenses.”

The Agwai panel, considerably, additionally backed the choice of the Wale Babalakin-led Governing Council to droop the college’s Vice Chancellor.

The federal authorities, in its resolution to overturn the suspension, had said that the Council “didn’t give the Vice Chancellor a possibility to defend himself on the allegations upon which his elimination was based mostly.”

The FG additionally said that, “the method adopted by the Council within the appointment of Professor Omololu Soyombo as Appearing Vice Chancellor of the College was inconsistent with the provisions of the Regulation regarding the appointment of an Appearing Vice Chancellor…”

The panel supported Dr Babalakin’s place that the elimination of a Vice Chancellor for gross misconduct underneath the 2003 Act is solely a Council resolution after Council has decided that the Vice Chancellor has dedicated an act of gross misconduct.

“Making use of the well-established cannons of statutory interpretation, this panel finds Dr Babalakin’s argument very believable,” the panel said in its report. “To be particularly reasonable to the College administration, the power of this argument is just not misplaced on them. Of their memorandum to the panel…administration sought an modification of the 2003 Act to keep away from this interpretation.”

Repeated efforts to talk with Dr Babalakin on the matter had been unsuccessful at press time.

Mr John Daramola of public accountability group, Open Funds, nonetheless, criticised the choice of the federal authorities to slow-walk the discharge of the federal government white paper on the UNILAG visitation panel.

“For a authorities that received into workplace on the again of a pledge to combat corruption, one is amazed that authorities has determined to maintain the Agwai report back to itself,” Daramola stated. “Within the spirit of openness and accountability, I name on authorities to publish the report and act on its advice. That is much more vital because the nation is confronted with months of inactivity in our tertiary establishments over situation bordering on insufficient funding. We should understand how college directors spend the cash they’ve and the UNILAG report is one option to know.”

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