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ASUU wants visitation panel for MOUA, Umudike


Michael-Okpara-University-of-AgricultureDissatisfied with events playing out at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUA) Umudike, Abia State, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is calling on Visitor to the institution, President Muhammadu Buhari, to set up a special visitation panel to the institution.

By the last count, at least three zones- Bauchi, Calabar and Owerri- had made their positions known on the matter.
Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Bauchi Zone, Professor Nanmwa Voncir, is specifically urging Buhari to stop the alleged “ongoing criminality” at the school to prevent the total collapse of the school.
“ASUU is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, send a visitation panel to the university before the present council foists another undesirable person on the university as vice chancellor, as the tenure of the present vice chancellor is drifting to an end.

Briefing newsmen in Bauchi, Voncir alleged that the Vice Chancellor of MOUA, Professor Hillary O. Edeoga, has rubbished the university system by, among other things, forcing students to pay N60, 800 per bed space, even as some of the students who made payments could not get what they paid for, and no refunds were made to them.

He claimed that the, “Vice chancellor appoints and promotes at will using all manners of primordial sentiments. This has resulted in the appointment and promotions of unqualified staff to the rank of professors, without following due process.

The Calabar Zone of ASUU had earlier also called on Buhari to set up a visitation panel to investigate allegations of maladministration leveled against Edeoga.

In a statement issued at the end of its meeting in Calabar, the union accused Edeoga of embarking on mass recruitment and promotion of “some” academic staff without requisite qualification to the rank of professors thereby violating laid down procedures in the appointment and promotion of staff in the university.

It noted that, “In most of these cases, the staff involved do not have the required teaching and research experience in the university system, and the years expected for post Ph.D qualification.”

The union claims that academic staff seeking promotion as senior lecturers, readers and professors in the university were forced to pay application fees of N3, 800, an act they described as “strange and curious.”

The zone is made up of University of Calabar (UNICAL), University of Uyo (UNIYO) Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH); Abia State University (ABSU); Ebonyi State University (EBSU) and Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU).

The statement jointly signed by the Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Nsing Ogar and chairmen of branches in the zone, further alleged that, “the offer of temporary appointments and embarking on trips abroad with funds from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), outside the purpose it was meant, and other infractions, speak of the monumental impunity in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.”

On Tuesday, the Owerri Zone of the union lent its voice to the call for the institution of a special visitation panel to look into what they termed, “acts of impunity” orchestrated by Edeoga.

Addressing newsmen in Awka, Anambra State, coordinator of the zone, Prof. Ike Odumegwu, accompanied by the chairperson of ASUU, MOUA, Dr. Uzochukwu A. Onyebinama, and the chairperson of ASUU, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka branch, Dr. Dennis Aribodor, alleged that the school has witnessed various acts of academic fraud and administrative impunity under the outgoing vice chancellor.

In a three page statement also signed by the chairpersons of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli, Federal University of Technology, Owerri and Imo State University, Owerri, Emeka Nwachukwu, Dr. Ikenna Nwachukwu and Dr. Chidi Nwadiaro respectively, the union noted, “The attention of ASUU, Owerri Zone has been drawn to the enormous fraud going on at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. Since the appointment of Prof Hillary Edeoga as vice chancellor of the university in 2011, the university has not known peace.
“Over 1,500 staff were recruited solely by the vice chancellor through temporary appointments without advertisement and competitive interviews, most of them placed in positions they are not suitably qualified for. The appointments are still ongoing.

Spokesperson of the school, Mrs. Onyinye Ralph-Nwachukwu, when contacted for comment on the allegations leveled against her principal, asked The Guardian to, “relate with your correspondent in Umuahia because I am very busy now, and your colleague has been following the story, and is aware of all the allegations.”

When pressed to address issues raised by the different zones of the union, including alleged academic fraud and administrative impunity, she retorted, “the allegations are not true,” and immediately hung up.

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