Members of the Aminu Suleiman- headed committee openly protested the recent release of the results of the Presidential Committee Award in which over 20 states of the federation did not have a single beneficiary selected for the exercise.
At an interactive session, the lawmakers took the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Julius Okojie, who is also the committee, to task, saying the exercise would further create educational imbalance in the country.
They ordered that the process be put on hold until the investigation by the House’ Education Committee is completed because, according to them, “it has violated the provision of Section 14 and 17 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution.”
However, Okojie, in his presentation, said the Presidential Committee adhered strictly to the terms of reference given to it.
Okojie said the successful candidates were chosen on merit, adding that the scheme “Is not a Federal Government scholarship scheme, but “a pilot project for critical areas of need.”
According to him, the criteria was that the beneficiaries must have 1st Class Degrees, not be more than 30 years old and that the studies meant to be undertaken in 25 top universities across the world, was for specialised courses.
Insisting that merit was the major ingredient in selecting the beneficiaries, he disclosed that each state of the federation was represented on the committee by a professor, who took part in all processes culminating in the final list.
But the enraged lawmakers said it was not right for the committee to insist that strict merit was adhered to by the committee in selecting the beneficiary. (Daily Independent)