Tuesday 23 February 2016

ERC Seeks Justice at Michael Okpara University

Demands Release of Fact-Finding Committee Report
Press Statement

A rights group, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that justice is done at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU) in relation to the litany of allegations of abuse of office, corruption, nepotism and mismanagement leveled by four staff unions against the out-going Vice Chancellor, Prof. Hilary Edeoga.

Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike is an institution established by the Federal Government to produce highly-rated graduates in Agriculture, Science and technology and to be a vehicle for the attainment of the primary goals of the National Agricultural Policy of self sufficiency in food and fibre production.

In a statement signed by the group’s National Coordinator and Secretary respectively, Comrades Hassan Taiwo Soweto and Michael Ogundele, the ERC also demanded the “immediate release and public disclosure of the report of a fact-finding committee constituted by the Federal Government at the instance of petitions filed by the Academic Staff Unions of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Universities and Associated Institutions (SSANU), Non Academic Staff Unions of Universities (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) who have consistently opposed the anti-worker and undemocratic policies of the VC”.

“Since the Fact-Finding Committee finished its work after it visited the University, nothing has been heard about the report. The immediate release and public disclosure of the report is important now especially considering the fact that Prof. Hilary Edeoga, being the dramatic personae of the entire crisis, will conclude his tenure on February 29, 2016. Before he leaves, the Federal Government holds the University community  a duty of revealing whether or not Prof. Edeoga is guilty as charged and what punishment would be meted to him and any other officials that may have connived with him to perpetrate all the atrocities” The group said.

The group claimed the allegations against Prof. Hilary Edeoga are weighty and must therefore not be swept under the carpet.

“Some of the allegations include serious breaches that have ramifications for the entire University system. There are for example, instances of cases of academic fraud, extortion of money from students, lack of effective academic leadership and nepotism in appointment. Most recently, forty-four (44) faculty members who did not satisfy the conditions precedent for appointment into the professorial cadre were appointed professors and associate professors. If our Universities are ever going to be able to effectively discharge their core functions which includes arming a new generation with ideas, knowledge and skill to take up leadership of the country in different fields, they must be democratic and free from corruption, autocracy and nepotism. These means such serious allegations of corruption and nepotism that have been leveled against Prof. Hilary Edeoga must be taken seriously”

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                            Michael Ogundele                          
National Coordinator (07033697259)                 National Secretary

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