Former Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Murtala Ibrahim Mohammed has stated categorically that there has not been any Bill on the floor of Parliament to amend the existing laws governing Universities in the country.
A draft Public Universities Bill introduced by government to regulate the various public Universities has generated controversies since some weeks ago.
So many educationists have spoken against this Bill because of its alleged controlling effect.
However, government has insisted that the Bill is not intended to attack academic freedom but to harmonize management.
But according to Murtala Mohammed, so long as the Chairman of Education Committee in Parliament has admitted that “he has not seen any Bill or a drafted Bill on his table except the one being circulated on social media”, it should be taken in good faith that there is no Bill in Parliament.
Contributing to a panel discussion on Radio Gold’s ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’ talk show, the former NDC Member of Parliament for Nantong Constituency indicated that any Bill sent to Parliament comes with a memorandum indicating the purpose for that particular Bill; thus in the case of the proposed University Bill, there is no such memo.
“ . . the reasons compelling how they are and why the government think that there should be a law or an amendment of an existing law, we are yet to see any memorandum accompanying the Bill. In fact we have no bill per the account of the Chairman of Education Committee of Parliament,” he asserted.
He was of the view that the issue of new University Bill ought not to be discussed as it is not before Parliament, but then the discussions are being carried out due to the nature of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and how they operate in the country.
He emphasised that “it is just a clear indication that they want to test the waters to see the reaction of the people of this country”.