THE autonomy granted Nigerian universities by the Federal Government came under spotlight at the weekend as their vice chancellors were accused of abusing the policy. Citing various areas the university administrators had erred, the government said they had politicised and embarked on projects that were bringing the schools to their kneels. Besides turning the institutions into private estates, the government said that the administrators had breached all known norms that had made the schools centres of universal learning. The vice chancellors were particularly accused of creating unnecessary positions for their friends as aides. The government lamented that the university heads had so manipulated the running of the schools that merit had been sacrificed for mediocrity in the appointments of key officers.
Citing the reports of its visitation panels to 26 federal universities, upon which it had issued a White Paper, the government ordered the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to ensure a faithful implementation of the recommendations. The White Paper ordered that the universities should henceforth not run diploma and certificate courses, refrain from warding honorary degrees to people with questionable characters, and give automatic jobs as graduate assistants to all first class graduands.