13 February 2016

Nigeria: Protest As Buhari Sacks 13 Universities' Vice Chancellors

Photo: The Guardian
(file photo).

The Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG) has protested against the sack of Vice Chancellors of 12 Federal Universities.

The universities were established by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Also sacked is the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Prof. Vincent Tenebe.

‎A statement personally signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu which was obtained by journalists on Saturday in Abuja said President Muahammadu Buhari, has approved the appointment of new Vice Chancellors for the Universities.

According to the public statement conveying the sack of the VCs, the substantive Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Prof. Mohammed Kundiri, was transferred to the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State.

A former Head, Department of International Relations at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, who was said to be on Sabbatical in NOUN is the new Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

While the Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State has Prof. Auwal Yadudu of the Faculty of Law, Bayero University, Kano as its new VC, Prof. Fatima Batoul Muktar of the Department of Biology, North West University, Kano is the VC of Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State.

A lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Haruna Abdu Kaita is the new VC of Federal University, Dutsin Ma, Katsina State, while Prof. Andrew Haruna of the Department of Linguistics, University of Jos will now function as VC, Federal University, Gashua, Yobe State.

While another lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy, ABU, Zaria, Prof. Magaji Garba, will now be VC in Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara State, Prof. Alhassan Mohammed Gani of the Institute of Maritime Studies, Federal University, Kashere in Gombe State has been elevated to the position of VC in same University.

A lecturer in the Department of Physics, Federal University, Lafia, Prof. Muhammad Sanusi Liman will henceforth be VC of same institution.

For Prof. Angela Freeman Miri of the Linguistics Department, UNIJOS, she is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Lokoja.

The Federal University, Ndifu-Alike, Ebonyi State now has Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba of the Post-Graduate School, Imo State University, Owerri as its VC, while Prof. Seth Accra Jaja of the Department of Management, University of Port Harcourt is now the VC of Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State.

‎In a protest letter by the coalition of civil society group to President Buhari, signed by its President, Etuk Bassey Williams and Secretary-General, Ibrahim Abubakar, it said the action contravenes the provisions of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act No.11 of 1993 (as amended) by decree No.25, 1996 and further amended in 2003 and 2012 respectively and other agreements as contained in the 2009 FGN staff union agreement

The petitioners said that four out of the 12 appointed VCs are from Kano University, an action they said, was a violation of the federal character principle.

The letter which demands for the reversal of the decision in which the NOUN VC was replaced with Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu of the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano said:

"While this does not come as a surprise owing to the influence of one of the Special Advisers to the Minister of Education in orchestrating the appointments of his friends and cronies without following due process, we are however concerned about the constitutional breach and the resultant litigation battle this action may cause, which in turn may generate unnecessary distractions to your focused administration."

The petition reads, "We are compelled to call your attention owing to the illegality in the removal of Vice Chancellors of 13 Federal Universities including the National Open University of Nigeria and the hasty appointment of friends and cronies in place of those illegally removed from office.

"While we are not unmindful of the fact that you would have acted on the recommendation of the Minister of Education in approving their removal, it is pertinent to know that in the pursuit of ambition driven by unguided passion and greed, impunity becomes inevitable as the end irrespective of the means is all that matters and in this case, the removal of these Vice Chancellors is the outcome of an unguided passion and greed by the Minister of Education and his Special Adviser.

"The constitution is quite clear on the procedures to be followed in the appointment and disengagement of Vice Chancellors and none of these procedures were followed in the above case.

"The appointment of Vice Chancellors is a tenured appointment, which presupposes that every appointee is expected to serve the prescribed number of years as stipulated by the Acts governing the institutions."

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