Mr Moshood Adewuyi, Auditor-General, Lagos State, on Tuesday charged Head of Internal Audits in Nigerian universities to embrace principles of good governance, accountability and transparency to improve their respective institutions.
Adewuyi gave the advice at the 36th National Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Committee of Head of Internal Audits Departments/Units In Nigerian Universities (CHIADINU), held at the Lagos State University(LASU) in Lagos.
The Auditor-General was represented by Ms Olufunmilola Coker, Head, Internal Audit, Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA) at the conference.
The theme of the conference is “Governance, Risk Management and Compliance : Issues and Insights For University Internal Auditors”.
He stated that the role of internal auditors cannot be overemphasized in any private or public organisation, noting, “they are indispensable in ensuring compliance with extant financial rules and regulations”.
Adewuyi said this compliance allows the internalization of processes and procedures in the application of resources.
“The role of auditors put them as ‘watchdogs or gatekeepers’, because they ensure proper documentations, examination of books and records, monitoring the use of resources in accordance with pre-determined financial plans, and safety of organizational assets.
“Our roles are essential to the growth and development of the respective universities where we work, and especially in situations where resources are limited and where value for money is expected,” he added.
According to him, the auditors must embrace effective organizational risk management and mechanisms established to ensure adherence.
In her address, the Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, charged the internal auditors to leverage their expertise and devise strategies for better resource management of their various institutions.
Ibiyemi-Bello, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, LASU, Prof. Funsho Omobintan, said that university managers need all the resources to overcome the economic uncertainties that had put unbearable strains on their lean resources.
“Faced with dwindling income and high running costs, universities cannot but be prudent by ensuring that every kobo earmarked for projects brings the highest benefit to the university,” she said.
According to her, LASU auditors led by Mrs Margaret Ogunkoya, Director, Internal Audit and National Chairman, CHIADINU said auditors are regarded as an indispensable stabilizing force in the management of the university’s finances, especially during the period of economic challenges.
The vice-chancellor said : “Our auditors ensure that the university’s financial systems meet the highest ethical standards with the management and indeed members of staff.
“This, tasked with compliance with the highest ethical standards, probity and accountability in their financial dealings and other related matters of the university.
“I give kudos to LASU Directorate of Internal Audit for bringing this year’s CHIADINU’s annual conference to LASU, which aligns with the university’s vision of developing well-trained personnel for the administration of the institution.
Mrs Oluwatoyin Adegbuji-Onikoyi, Chairman, Lagos State Audit Service Commission, also charged the internal auditors not to be weak in their duties, as their weaknesses implies weakness and failure in the system.
Adegbuji-Onikoyi stated that good governance and auditing have a close relationship, as any system without check and balances cannot stand.
“The watchdog of auditors is fairness and firmness, and they must work to promote transparency and integrity in an organisation because the public is relying on them for trust,” she said.
In her welcome address, Ogunkoya said that the CHIADINU annual conference is a testament to the auditors’ commitment to excellence, knowledge sharing and the pursuit of a better future for Internal Audit Department and Units in Nigerian universities.
Ogunkoya noted that the theme of the conference could not be more relevant.
She explained that Governance, Compliance and Risk management (GCR) is a framework that enables institutions to align their strategies, objectives and operations with regulatory requirements.
“GCR encompasses a wide range of activities, including risk management, regulatory compliance, corporate governance and information security management.
“Effective GCR practices can help organizations to build trust with stakeholders, enhance reputation and improve overall business performance.
“A well-planned GRC strategy with an integrated approach goes a long way in helping institutions manage risk and maintain integrity,” she said.
No fewer than 120 universities’ Heads of Internal Audit Department/Units across the country participated in the conference.