The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has accused lecturers across the country’s public tertiary institutions of diverting research grants to build homes, purchase cars, and engage in other frivolous activities.
This is coming after an allegation of personnel budget inflation levelled against some academic and healthcare institutions including the University of Ibadan, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), was made public.
Making the fresh allegation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, TETFund’s director of research and development, Salihu Bakari, said huge sums of money made available to the individual lecturers, and sometimes their teams for research exercises, conference attendance, among others, are usually misappropriated.
Mr Bakari spoke at a capacity building workshop organised by the agency for select staffers of research and development units from some of the public tertiary institutions, as parts of efforts aimed at rejigging research activities in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Mr Bakari, while responding to questions from the participants on the introduction of ‘stringent’ conditions by the agency, especially in the allocation of grants, noted that the culture of impunity, breach of trust, and violations of funding agreements and rules of engagement by the lecturers is unimaginable.
“It is sad to note that public funds made available to lecturers to conduct groundbreaking and demand-driven researches towards solving Nigeria’s socio-economic, and even political challenges, are misappropriated by those who are expected to be above board. I mean the beneficiaries of our grants,” he said.
“Through our recovery efforts, we had traced monies to houses built by lecturers with the public fund; there are cases of cars purchased with the money, without any research work done. And these are the people who would be accusing politicians of being corrupt,” he added.
He also accused many of the institutions of committing worse crimes.
He said TETFund’s new policy engagement, introduction of strict conditions, and the process towards recovering public funds misappropriated by both the individual lecturers and institutions, will help to reduce malfeasance across various campuses.
According to Mr Bakari, the agency is shifting its focus from infrastructural development of the higher institutions to content development.
He said globally, high-flying academic institutions are no longer known to occupy large space but are recognised with their innovative ideas, rich content and advancements in technology.
However, he lamented that as much as the agency is trying to democratise access to its large pool of resources, “lecturers and their institutions are not coming forward to access the funds.”
Source: Premium Times