From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government Visitation Panel to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has encouraged students, staff, union and other stakeholders to freely articulate and present their grievances, observations and suggestions about anyone or group of persons in the institution.
The Panel assured that the identity of such persons will not be disclosed if they clearly indicate so in their submissions neither will there be any form of victimization for such persons
Chairman of the Visitation Panel, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, who gave the assurance at first interactive meeting with members of the Governing Council of NOUN in Abuja, on Tuesday, said that such submissions would help the Panel succeed in its responsibilities and enrich its report.
“In fact, we called for memoranda in two national dailies which was published on Tuesday. It means that anyone or any stakeholder within and outside NOUN has opportunity to contribute to this assignment. Nobody is going to be victimized considering the fact that the Panel is not answerable to the University but to the Federal Government of Nigeria. If you have anything to say, please give to us and we know how to handle it,” he assured.
He, however, promised that they would work within the term of reference as listed by the Federal Government during the inauguration ceremony to ensure that result is achieved.
He said: “We are to inquire into the level of implementation of the white paper on the last visitation report; examine the quality of the leadership of the University in terms of the role of the Governing Board, the Vice Chancellor and other Principal Officers; examine the financial management of the institutions including statutory allocations and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) over the
recommended period and determine whether it was in compliance with the appropriate regulations.
“We are also expected to investigate the application of funds, particularly the special grants and loans meant for particular projects in order to determine the status of such projects and their relevance for further funding; we are to examine the adequacy of staff and staff development programmes; determine the relationship between the University and the various statutory bodies it interacts with according to its Law for the purpose of supervising, finance, discipline, guidance and any other relationship.
“To examine the Law establishing the University including the relationship between the various internal organs, units and offices and indicate the ways the Law has been observed by the competent authorities and also suggest any modifications to the Law.
“The Panel is also expected to trace the historical evolution of the University and how the University has dealt with it and recommend appropriate measures; examine the general security in the University and how the University has dealt with it and recommend appropriate measures; and also examine the processes and structures of discipline of students in the university in line with due process of the rule of law.”
He said that, in fulfilment of the mandate of the Panel, members noted that a good starting point for the assignment would be for the Panel to knock on the doors of the University by meeting with the Governing Council to seek its support and blessings without which the assignment cannot succeed.
Meanwhile, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Peter Okebukola, in his welcome remarks expressed confidence in the ability and capacity of the Panel to do justice to their responsibilities.
He assured the Panel of maximum support and cooperation from the Governing Council, as well as Management of NOUN.