A bill to transfer ownership of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism in Lagos to a Federal Government owned and funded institution is currently being considered in the House of Representatives.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Olufemi Bandele Adebanjo who represents Alimosho Federal Constituency of Lagos State in the green chamber has already gone through first reading and has been listed on the House journal.
Titled a Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos State, provide for the functions and for related matters, HB 1580 may come up for second reading as soon as the House resumes plenary after its adjournment to allow ministries, departments and agencies of government defend their budget estimates.
Section 2(1) of the bill vested the powers of the institution on its Governing Council, with the power to “consider and approve the day to day and plan of activities of the institute, the programmes of study, courses and research to be undertaken by the institute, the yearly estimates of the institute and the structure and investments plan of the institute.”
Section 3 provides for the composition of the Governing Council of the institute which however did not include its current owners, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE).
- The section states that “the Governing Council of the Institute shall consist of a Chairman and the following members to be appointed by the President. A representative of the Minister of Education, a representative of the alumni Association of the Institute, three persons appointed on individual merit on a nationwide basis who should have wide experience in the area of journalism, two representatives of the academic board of the institute, one representative of the general public and the Provost of the Institute.
The bill also grants members of the governing council a four year renewable term of office.
The law confers the status of Visitor to the institute on the Minister of Education.
The bill in a section 6(1a) curiously confer the power to accredit the Diploma, Higher National Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma on the National Universities Commission (NUC) instead of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) which has the power to accredit such certificates.
It states that “For the carrying out of the functions of the Institute, the Governing Council shall have power to undertake examination and award diplomas, professional certificates and other distinction to persons who have who have pursued a course of study approved and accredited by the National University Commission.”
Section 7 which makes the minister visitor to the institution mandates him to conduct visitation or appoint a visitation panel consisting of not less than five experts for the purpose of evaluating the academic and administrative performance of the Institute.
The proposed law also confers on the President the power to appoint the Provost of the Institute from one of the three candidates that will be recommended to him from a list of applicants for the position.
The proposed law states further that the Provost shall serve for a term of four years and shall be eligible for reappointment for another four year term.
Section 18 of the bill states that the Institute will be funded from the annual budget and other sundry sources such as gifts, grants subscription, fees and charges for services rendered.
It also states that “the Council shall submit to the Minister through the University Commission not later than three months before the end of each financial year or at such other times as he may direct, an estimate of its revenue and expenditure for the next succeeding financial year.
A close study of the 25 sections contained in the bill revealed that when passed into law, it will completely exclude the current owners of the Institute from its day to day administration as no mention was made about them throughout the bill.
When contacted about the bill, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chris Isiguzo said he was not aware of the existence of such bill and would not be able to comment on it until he has seen the bill.