By Segun O’Law
The Federal Government has advised federal universities to be prepared to swim on their own, or sink.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at a fundraising dinner organized by the University of Jos, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, called on the institutions to generate funds independently from investors, associates and alumni.
Mr. Anyim, a former President of the Senate, also said that the government would inaugurate a committee to assess the level of need of the institutions and make recommendations, apparently to back the decision that has already been taken to starve them of funds.
This decision to pass the burden of financing to the universities is certain to lead to increases in tuition in federal universities, just as a similar decision to withdraw the subsidy on petrol last January led to the exponential price increases that fuelled that month’s mass rallies nationwide.
The pattern of passing vast financial burdens to impoverished citizens is happening at a time that the executive and legislative arms of the government are continuously finding ways to grant to themselves lavish budget provisions.
Only recently, it emerged that the nation’s Senators had bought new Toyota LandCruiser Sport Utility Vehicles at a cost of over N16million each. Each of them already enjoys a fleet of luxury official cars. This year, federal legislators will receive an estimated N71 billion in jumbo allowances and packages they have allocated to themselves.
Not to be outdone, the presidency has this year budgeted for itself, for food alone, about one billion Naira.