Theology Varsities Sue NUC Over Accreditation Of Courses
Owners of Christian theology universities have alleged harassment by government agents on accreditation of courses by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).
The owners, under the aegis of Association of Christian Theologians (ACTS), have sued the NUC, asking the Federal High Court to determine if the commission had the power to regulate faith-based theology universities in a secular society.
In the suit before Justice I.N Idris, the plaintiffs, Prof. Olakunle Macaulay and the ACTS, claim that agents of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) recently arrested and detained the ACTS’ National President, Macaulay and other theological teachers in Lagos, on the accusation that they ran an illegal theological institution.
They said that upon being herded to the ICPC office in Ikoyi, Lagos, the body informed the plaintiffs that they were arrested based on a complaint lodged by the NUC, that they were running an illegal university.
Joining the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as second defendant, the plaintiffs said various forms of harassment had been witnessed by owners of theology universities in the country.
Macaulay and the ACTS, through their counsel, Mr. Kayode Oyedeji, sought for a declaration of the court, that “Nigeria, being a secular state by virtue of the provisions of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution”…the NUC lacked the power to regulate Christian education and theological education in Nigeria.
Also, they sought a declaration that the United Bible University being regulated by the ACTS is a non-secular University and outside the purview of the regulatory mandate of the NUC.
Similarly, they wanted the court to declare that there is no provision in the Act establishing the NUC that convers statutory powers on it to regulate Christian education and theological education in Nigeria.
They also cited sections 10, 38 and 40 of the Constitution as clear enough to exclude the NUC from having anything to do with theological universities, apart from the ACTS.
Macaulay and the ACTS further prayed the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants jointly and severally, and their agents, servants or privies from harassing, disturbing, intimidating and or doing anything to affect the liberty of the first plaintiff’s activities at the United Bible University being regulated by the ACTS.
In its statement of defence, however, the NUC stated that pursuant to the NUC Act of 1974, and the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act of 1985, it is responsible for all aspects of university education and the general development of universities in Nigeria.
The defendant further averred that its functions “include planning for a balanced and coordinated development of all universities in Nigeria, including the general programmes to be pursued by the universities, to ensure that they are fully adequate to meet national needs and objective.
Justice Idris adjourned the suit to March 12, 2018 for mention.