Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro said the agency suspended sponsorship of conference attendance for Nigerian lecturers due to ‘infringement’ and ‘abuse’.
Bogoro who gave the clarification following reports that the agency had cancelled sponsorship of conference attendance for lecturers in public tertiary institutions, said the fund only ‘suspended’ the sponsorship of the conference for six months.
He said the agency received a damning report last year of 10 beneficiaries who refused to attend a conference they had collected money for.
The TETFund chief explained that investigation had begun to identify the sources of such infractions, adding that if quickly concluded, the suspension might be lifted in four months.
“TETFUND has not stopped sponsoring academic conferences. What we did is to suspend it due to infringement and abuse. We discovered that through our team that went out monitoring. Until now, we didn’t use to monitor conferences, but we got complaints that many people that take the money do not report. Some even sent others to go and sign attendance for them.
“For one of the conferences, of the 12 people that we sent last year, only two reported to the conference and all of them had taken monies for it. Is that not unfair?
“The report came from the department of academic staff training, we sat at the management and then recommended to the Board of Trustees (BOT) that sponsorship of academic conference should be suspended until we investigate.
“An investigative committee has been put in place to look into the circumstances surrounding what happened but we have first and foremost suspended it for six months. We are hoping that it could be lifted before the six months if, by four months, we are able to get a report that identifies the sources of the infractions, and they recommend how we would block it, and we are convinced that it is going to be foolproof.
He continued, “The TETFUND policy has been, one international conference permitted per academic staff every two or three years. Before that policy came, you hardly see Nigerian lecturers go for international conferences. And as academic, if you are locked up in the four walls of your university, it is bad enough. You need peer experiences, peer review and knowledge sharing from people in other institutions around the world”.
Already, the fund is marred in controversy due to reports that it accused some lecturers across the country’s public tertiary institutions of diverting research grants to build homes, purchase cars, and engage in other frivolous activities.