Nigerian lecturers are about to learn the hard way that ‘there is rice at home’. Last we wrote about how the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), the country’s premiere funding engine for scientific research in universities and other tertiary institutions discovered after a thorough audit of its grants that Nigerian lecturers who applied for grants from the organization had been embezzling the funds they received and diverting it into personal use.
This is big news because the Nigerian government has been routinely accused of not funding scientific research in the country and limiting the ability of universities and other tertiary institutions to compete favorably with global peers.
Buhari has been taking these accusations seriously because in January, he sacked the executive secretary of TETFUND Abdullahi Bafa, and requested the internal audit which led to these revelations. Now the presidency is taking things a step further and actually instituting consequences for the widespread misuse of grant funding by University lecturers and tutors in other tertiary institutions.
TETFUND’s director of research and development Salihu Bakari has announced that from now on TETFUND will no longer sponsor lecturers and professors to attend scientific conferences within the country and outside of it. Conferences are integral to the career growth of academics as it offerst the unique opportunity to collaborate with their peers from other countries and present academic papers which are then peer reviewed and accepted. The acceptance of an academic paper legitimizes the research that was done the arrive at that paper and cements the name of the team who did the experimentation as authorities in the field, which can lead to lucrative consultation and public speaking opportunities.
Sources close to TETFUND have suggested as a many as 50% of all lecturers who receive grant funding of any kind from the organization divert the funds. This will at least give the organization time to implement stronger deterrents for embezzlement and sanitize the system.