The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branch of University of Agriculture, Umudike, ABIA State, has dinied media reports that the institution sacked over 400 of its staff.
In a statement signed by Prof. C. A. Echendu and Dr. F. A. Nkaa, chairperson and secretary of the assciation respectively, and made available to www.beats-onit.com, ASUU described such a claim as “an utter falsehood and and totally misleading”.
The statement explained that the persons claimed to have been sacked were temporary staff whose appointments had automatically expired on their own as provided for in the extant laws of the university as clearly stated in their appointment letters, pointing out that
“On 20th March 2014, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) wrote to the then Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University, Professor Anya Oko Anya informing him that the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Hilary Odo Edeoga was among other acts of impunity and breaches of due process abusing his power to make temporary appointments”.
Describing as misleading, the numerous statements in the print, electronic and social media in relation to the expiration of the appointments of over 400 temporary appointees at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, and in its bid to register its part in the development, the institution, in the lengthy statement informed inter-allia:
“The Union noted that “the use of temporary appointments to fill academic staff vacancies has become the rule rather than the exception. It has denied the university the opportunity of giving each candidate equal opportunity and selecting the best and most suitable candidates. We believe that a competitive selection process is the best option for recruiting high caliber faculty and administrative staff.
“The Governing Council under Professor Anya Oko Anya as Chairman swept the matter under the carpet until 29th January 2015 when it was compelled by the deepening crisis to set up a cosmetic committee headed by a member of that Council, Professor Rasheed K. Ojukutu to investigate the petition from ASUU MOUAU.
“It is interesting to note that that committee, in spite of its cosmetic character, observed that “the Vice chancellor (Professor Hilary Edeoga) has been recruiting staff on temporary basis subject to decree no 48 of 1992 as amended” and “that these appointments were sometimes not taken through the department/colleges for input.
“The committee concluded that “the offer of temporary appointments was becoming rampant within the system, a situation that is becoming a rule rather than exception” The Committee recommended that “all appointments rather than come from Management to Departments should come from Departments through Colleges to Management and that no appointment should be made outside the established positions as contained in the budget proposals of Colleges and Units”. The Governing Council under Professor Anya Oko Anya woefully failed to take any measure to redress the anomaly or even to implement the recommendations of its own Committee”.
The istitution , while congratulating the Council on the step taken to address the illegalities committed by the past Vice chancellor Prof. Hilary Edeoga and Council headed by Prof. Anya O. Anya. Associetion also urged and encouraged the Governing Council to deal with the other equally weighty issues as uncovered by the Presidential Fact-finding Panel and by the numerous
ASUU further reminded the Visitor, President Mohammadu Buhari that a Presidential Visitation Panel to MOUAU is long overdue by law. We therefore urging him to dispatch a Presidential Visitation Panel to Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, as is required by law, to conduct a forensic staff and financial audit of the conduct of the business of the university from 1st March 2011 – 29th February 2016. This would afford an opportunity for detailed investigation into what has become the Stone Age in the life of MOUAO.