Former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has criticized universities for engaging in bread and sachet water production to generate funds.
Jega, who is the Pro-Chancellor, Plateau State University, Bokkos, spoke at the opening of the three-day 2016 Nigerian Higher Education Summit on Monday in Abuja.
Acknowledging that the crisis of funding in Nigerian universities is acute, Jega insisted that the primary responsibility of funding universities is that of government.
He said, “Putting universities in such a dire situation where they have to be doing things like producing and selling sachet water is sad; frankly, it is not the business of universities.
“We want young unemployed youths to be involved in such entrepreneurial activities to generate income for themselves and to build businesses.
“For a university to become in dire and desperate need for money as to bake bread and produce sachet water is unwholesome and needs to be discouraged.
“Government needs to provide sufficient funding to universities.”
He said universities were in the business of knowledge production and should strive to produce patents or prototypes which they could engage Nigerian industries to manufacture.
Jega added that it is unhealthy for universities to be struggling to generate funds to carry out their mandates.
On ASUU strike, the former INEC boss called for mutual respect between the Federal Government and the unions.
“It is important for government to bend over backwards and it is important for unions to be realistic in their demands in order to find solutions,” he said.