A student organization, the Vigilant Academic Youth Association (VAYA), has alleged that certain rectors and vice-chancellors of government-owned tertiary institutions are exploiting students and misusing the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) for personal enrichment.
In a formal communication to President Bola Tinubu, VAYA has urgently called for an investigation to uncover the malpractices within the tertiary education sector, describing it as the last opportunity to rescue government-owned schools from “a network of exploiters within its academic leadership.”
The national president of VAYA stated, “The education sub-sector is facing severe challenges due to the blatant involvement of these academic leaders in unethical practices such as engaging in inappropriate relationships for academic favors, diverting project funds, abandoning projects, financial misconduct, violating procurement procedures, and engaging in admission and other forms of corruption.”
“The funds allocated to our institutions through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) are being embezzled, with projects being mishandled in collaboration with contractors who happen to be friends, family, or associates of the Vice-Chancellors and their management teams.”
Speaking out against the alleged misconduct, the president continued, “We are revealing these issues now because it has come to our attention that these academic administrations are actively preventing any scrutiny into their actions that are damaging our institutions.”
The organization urged Nigerians to question the sources of funds used by these academic leaders to build extravagant homes and send their children abroad for education, especially in the current economic climate with a weakened national currency. The president added, “We have not even addressed the issue of these children of academic leaders not patronizing the educational institutions their parents oversee, opting instead for foreign schools.”
VAYA is appealing to the Senate and House of Representatives to initiate investigations into reported cases of misconduct by some Vice-Chancellors and Rectors. The group emphasized that the National Assembly, with its oversight powers outlined in Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution, could play a crucial role in rectifying the situation.
Highlighting the potential positive impact of recovering misappropriated TETFUND funds, the president stated, “Recovering embezzled TETFUND funds could enable many institutions to undertake genuine projects instead of the imaginary structures that numerous academic administrations claim to have built.”
The organization also pointed out instances where institutions benefiting from TETFUND interventions delivered substandard projects or failed to implement them at all. Additionally, they raised concerns about the biased selection of individuals, often cronies and family members, for training and foreign trips, sidelining deserving staff and scholars.
Meanwhile, VAYA stressed the importance of transparency in the tertiary education sub-sector, calling for evidence of how trillions of Naira allocated to schools in recent years have been utilized, emphasizing the need for accountability in all public expenditures.