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Aformer Pro-Chancellor and chairman, Governing Council of University of Lagos, Dr Wale Babalakin, has advised the Federal Government to set up a judicial panel to look into the finances of UNILAG and other universities across Nigeria.

Babalakin who spoke on Arise TV on Wednesday during the ‘Morning Show,’ noted that there was the need for the Federal Government to allow international accounting firm to look into the financial affairs of universities in the country.

He added, “I am happy that the visitation panel recommended that an international accounting firm should look at the affairs of UNILAG.

“I will not stop at that, I will say a judicial panel with a judge knowledgeable in finance should look at all universities and it will be discovered that the Federal Government is just pumping money into these universities without getting commensurate return.”

The immediate past Governing Council, led by Babalakin removed the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin  Ogundipe in August, 2020 after a long face-off between both parties.

Babalakin-led Governing Council accused Ogundipe of misappropriation of funds and a panel was setup by the FG to investigate the allegations.

However, while the panel was about completing his report, Babalakin resigned in September 2020, while Ogundipe was reinstated in November 2020.

But another presidential Visitation Panel was constituted on 29th March, 2021 and was requested to look into the affairs of UNILAG between 2016 and 2020 which indicted university management.

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On Wednesday, Babalakin raised concern that universities had become another government’s parastatal where activities just happened with disregard to guidelines and rules, saying  the Nigeria education system had collapse.

He said, “I am here because of the collapse in the education system in Nigeria; the incident of UNILAG is simply a manifestation of the decay going on for long. The university system has completely collapsed; and I refused to be one of the boys.

“The President of Nigeria, (Muhammadu) Buhari struggles to get money to fund the universities, but the money is not spent appropriately because a substantial part of was not spent for the purpose for which it was raised. In UNILAG, I discovered that a substantial part of it was misappropriated.”

He lamented that the office of the VC in the country had become a coveted position where scholars struggled to attain.

“It is like that because today, universities have simply become another Federal Government parastatal where so many things just happen there. The position of VC now has become a coveted position because it givs a lot of advantage to you.

“The professors are earning about N450,000, but if you are friends of the VC, you can be made a director, you get a car, you can travel regularly and get allowances.”

While speaking on how to turn UNILAG in to a world-class university, Babalakin said, “You have to change the mindset of the workers; this is not another civil service job. Take the university out of the full control of the ministry. The Permanent Secretary wield a lot of power; all the things done in UNILAG cannot survive any legal test.”

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