The House of Representatives on Thursday appealed to Federal Government to direct the National Universities Commission, NUC, to immediately accredit the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu to independently award degrees by the Act governing its operations.
The House also mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education to ensure that NUC complies with the provisions of the Act.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Honourable Benjamin Kalu, while moving a motion on the floor of the House, reminded his colleagues of Section 6a of the Federal College of Dental Technology (Establishment) Act 2017 duly passed by the House in concurrence with the Senate and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017.
According to him, despite the enactment of the Act and the visit of NUC to the College on an inspection tour of its facilities in 2020, NUC has continued to deny the College of its deserved accreditation to perform its degree-awarding functions.
The lawmaker expressed concern that NUC had insisted that the institution, which has been awarding Ordinary National Diploma, OND, and Higher National Diploma, HND, over the years, could only run degree programmes in affiliation with Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, despite its findings and report that the institution is well equipped with both manpower and adequate facilities to unilaterally award degrees.
He recalled that whereas the institution was founded in 1955 to curtail capital flights and meet medical and manpower needs in the country, NUC’s refusal to accredit the College for degree award is also a violation of Section 4(1a) of the NUC Act.
He said: “The House notes the National Assembly enacted the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy (Establishment) Act, 2017, and under Section 6(a) of the Act, the College is empowered to award degrees, diplomas, and certificates for courses provided for under the Act.
“The House further notes that the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy (Establishment) Act, 2017 which provided a legal framework for the College was established in 1955 and has been fully operational was aimed at empowering the institution to help reduce capital flight on the one hand and service the critical medical and health manpower need of the nation on the other hand.
“The House is aware that the College, all along, has been funded by the annual national budget and is well-positioned both in manpower and infrastructure to take off in line with the new mandate as provided for by the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy (Establishment) Act, 2017.
“The House is also aware that a visitation report from the National Universities Commission (NUC) confirmed that the College is fully equipped with the availability of adequate manpower and facilities to offer degree courses of study as required by the NUC and as such the College is duly qualified to fully function in line with the new mandate.
“The House is worried that despite meeting all requirements, the National Universities Commission insists that the College may operate only in affiliation with the Federal University of Technology Owerri, thereby obstructing the full implementation of the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy (Establishment) Act, an Act of the National Assembly duly passed and given presidential assent in 2017, while also violating Section 4(1)(a) of the National Universities Commission Act, Cap N81, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
The House therefore urged the Federal Government to direct the National Universities Commission to revisit the College, and provide the necessary accreditation as required by law to enable the full implementation of the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy (Establishment) Act, 2007 as a degree awarding institution.”
It also “mandated the Committees on Legislative Compliance, Tertiary Education, and Health Institutions (when constituted) to ensure compliance.”