The Nigerian Federal Government had recently had to mediate a quarrel between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Prof Hilary Edeoga, Vice-Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture at Umudike (MOUAU) in Abia State.
Battle between VC, ASUU causes FG to intervene
The Federal Government has stepped into the quarrel between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Prof Hilary Edeoga, Vice-Chancellor, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture.
According to The Nation reports, the federal government launched a probe into allegations fraud, high-handedness and mismanagement levelled against Prof Edeoga by ASUU.
During the university’s seventh convocation, last Saturday, Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Onwuka, confirmed that he was aware of the rift between both parties.
“Government is aware of the misunderstanding between the university management and ASUU, which is the reason the ministerial committee has been set up to investigate the matter and submit its report within 10 days,” he said.
Back in June, this year, the University suspended the chairman of the MOUAU branch of ASUU, Dr Uzochukwu Onyebinama, under suspicions of fraud and examination malpractice following investigation by a staff disciplinary committee.
Edeoga disclosed that the panel found Onyebinama “guilty of insubordination, total disregard for constituted authority, inefficiency, negligence and dishonesty in the discharge of his official functions.”
Onyebinama has taken the university to court over the matter.
In the past weeks, ASUU has been urging the federal government to probe the VC as they believe that way the institution is being managed could plunge the school into crisis.
Eseoga was also accused of other misdemeanor.
ASUU Sokoto Zonal Coordinator, Dr Lawali Alkali Argungu said, “For the 2014/2015 admission exercise, the VC instructed that all new students must buy a bed space at the rate of N60,800 which he deliberately refused to refund those who could not get the accommodation.
“The Vice-Chancellor, in flagrant violation of the university laws compelled prospective applicants seeking job to pay a non refundable application fee of N3,800, a practice alien to the University system.”
A group of academics who claimed to have pulled out of MOUAU ASUU has expressed their disagreement with these allegations against the VC.
They released a statement which read, “What ASUU national body should have done was to have investigated the facts of the matter before going to the press.
“There is a gang up initiated by ASUU, using the zones to fight MOUAU, the vice chancellor, the governing council, the senate, distinguished professors, academic and non-academic staff and the students in general.”
Edeoga, while admitting his relief that the Federal Government has stepped in, has refused to make any comment on the issue.
“The council has started looking into the matter and will come out with its findings very soon. It is like a matter being placed before a court, so I am not going to speak until the case is dispensed of,” he said.
The parents are on the side of ASUU. In a statement signed by their Chairman, Obinna Nwosu, and Secretary, Tony Okoro, parents claimed that their petition to the governing council over the excesses and recklessness of the management has been ignored.
“When we openly demonstrated against the academic and financial fraud in the university, the management arrested some of us and tortured us in their secret chambers until the police rescued us, some of the scandalous activities we complained against have been thriving since then,” they alleged.
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