The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the removal of 12 vice-chancellors of Federal universities by the Federal Government, describing it as a violation of the Nigerian University Miscellaneous (Amendment) Act 2003.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, February 23, ASUU President, Dr Nasir Isa, said the Union was concerned with the way the Federal Government, both immediate, past and the current dispensation, was disregarding due process in the University stystem.
The Federal Government had on February 12, announced the sacking of the vice-chancellors and named their replacement.
He said the same illegality played out in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, as he appointed the vice chancellors on personal whim.
Isa said: “Going by the provisions of the Nigerian University Miscellaneous (Amendment) Act 2003, only the Governing Councils are bestowed with the powers of appointing and removing vice-chancellors.
“The latest action in these universities has justified our consistent demand for proper governance structure and process in Nigerian University System.
“In the first place, vice-chancellors were arbitrarily appointed into these institutions and the governing councils instituted without making their enabling law public.
“We are worried that the same cycle of illegality is playing out again.
“In a university where there is the law, only the governing council is empowered to remove a vice-chancellor from office for a good cause.”
In accordance to the law, Isa said, only a council had the power to appoint a vice-Chancellor
He quoted the University Amendment Act of 2003, 4 (b) as saying; “the council shall select and appoint as vice-Chancellor , one candidate from among three candidates recommended to it and thereby inform the visitor.”
The ASUU president added that the vice chancellor could only be removed from office by the governing council on grounds of conduct or inability to discharge the function of the office.
“This could be as a result of infirmity of the body or mind, at the initiative of the council, senate or the congregation after due process.
“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to tow the path of legality and due process by gazetting the law appointing the councils,” he said.
He said that the government should mandate “the councils to immediately commence the process of appointing new vice-chancellors for the affected universities.”