The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said the absence of Governing Councils in all federal universities in Nigeria makes their activities illegal and poses a great danger to the institutions.

Speaking to our correspondent on Sunday, national president, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, complained that the Bola Tinubu administration in June 2023 dissolved all the Governing Councils in federal universities in the country, stating that it was dangerous and illegal for a university to run without a Governing Council.

Briefly, the Governing Council is the governing authority of the university and is charged with the general control and superintendence of the policy, finances, and property of the University including its public relations.

Furthermore, some duties of Governing Councils are approving the university’s annual budget, supervising staff recruiting and promotion, approving new academic programs, and ensuring that the university functions by its goals and objectives. The nomination of the Vice-Chancellor is one of the Council’s most important tasks.

Osodeke said, “The Governing Councils in all federal universities have been cut off for over five months. These universities are running illegally, and the minister has become the Governing Council. There are many Vice-Chancellors whose tenures are ending soon and there is no Governing Council to start the process of recruiting new ones. The government should reconstitute the Governing Council to avert the danger of not having councils.

“In all the federal universities, there is no Governing Council, they were dissolved September 2023, it is like a deliberate action. Any decision taken by the VC or anyone now is illegal, the university cannot function properly because you need a council to award contracts, conduct employment, and other major decisions but the government seems not to be interested in forming any council.”

He insisted that the Federal Government should reconstitute the Governing Council for all universities as soon as possible or restore the ones it dissolved illegally last year.

Osodeke’s argument on the dissolved councils was that their removal was done illegally, adding that they usually had four years and could only be removed if they committed an offense.

“The government should reconstitute the Governing Councils immediately or bring back the ones they illegally removed, which they didn’t follow due process to remove them.

“Their tenure is four years, for you to remove them they must  have made an infraction, but you can’t just wake up one morning and say you dissolved them the law didn’t recognise that.”

A university Governing Council consists of the Pro-Chancellor who serves as Chairman, Vice-Chancellor, External Members, a representative of National Universities Commission, a representative of the University Senate, representative of the University Congregation.