Prof. Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta, V.C. of MOUAU
The management of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike may have concluded plans to sack no fewer than 400 staff in the employ of the institution. Presently, there is an atmosphere of fear pervading the entire environment as the governing council of the university rose from its meeting with an agreement to sack the staff all of whom were employed by the former Vice Chancelor, Prof Hilary Edeoga.
A credible source in the university who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the staff affected attended the regularisation interview conducted in 2016 by the former VC but did not collect their letters of regularization before the VC was pulled out of the office.
beats-onit.com further learnt that immediately the new VC assumed office, he declared the regularisation interview inconclusive and mandated all affected staff to reapply, stating why their appointments should be renewed.
An affected staff said that “We all reapplied though we were apprehensive that the new VC wanted to sack most of us and replace us with his kinsmen and friends, like he did when he was rector in Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Afikpo, Ebonyi State.
“We were not surprised when news broke out that the governing council decided to sack all of us. We have been complaining about it right from the start when he declared the transparent and fair regularisation interview inconclusive.
“Some of us were offered temporary appointments while others were head hunted to join the university from other universities. Majority of us were interviewed after sometime which is a standard civil service rule in a bid to regularise our appointments.
The former VC, beats-onit.com, was told, did not have time to sign the letters of regularisation or authorise the registrar to do same before activities marking his pulling out kick started, just as on assumption of office, the new VC professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta declared the earlier interview inconclusive.
“He directed all the staff involved to reapply stating why their appointments should be renewed and submit same, which we all did”, the source revealed, adding:
“Some weeks ago he set up a committee to look at the credentials of all staff involved with a view to sacking those whose certificates were questionable or those occupying positions they were not qualified to occupy.
“The committee had neither concluded their work nor submitted their report before the VC presented the issue to Council that were just inaugurated and
had their first meeting.
“On many occasions while addressing staff, he told us that he does not want anybody to lose his/her job. He will also tell us that he feels upset that he cannot employ anybody from his hometown.
“Imagine our shock that after the governing council meeting, information we got indicate that all of us will be sacked. In fact the decision was that all our arrears should be paid while our june salary will also be paid. The letters of termination will take effect from July 1.
“The registrar has been mandated to sign the letters, though unverified sources say the registrar is unwilling to sign the letters”.
Contacted on the telephone separately, the deputy vice chancellor (academics), Professor Iwe and governing council member, professor Ike Nwachukwu said they were not authorised to speakbon the issue, but directed the reporter to either the vice chancellor or the public relations officer of the institution who could not be reached at the Tim of filing this report.