Victor Koreyo of the Department of Ceramics and Glass Technology, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Afikpo, Ebonyi State, recently vowed to renounce his Nigerian citizenship over alleged social injustice, corruption and discrimination against him.
Mr Koreyo said he was demoted for a period of eight years by the management of the institution and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to endorse his request to give up his citizenship. PREMIUM TIMES reported his initial request to renounce his citizenship and the response of an official of the university.
In this exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES' Azeezat Adedigba, he speaks on why he took the unusual decision.
PT: When you renounced your citizenship, did you already have the country you wanted to go, or do you presently have dual citizenship?
Mr Koreyo: I will take a stateless status with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees first. In the process, I will be looking for a country to go to which will give me asylum or citizenship.
No, I do not have dual citizenship and I don't have any country in mind yet.
PT: If the President of Nigeria refuses to accept your renouncement, what will be your next course of action?
Mr Koreyo: I took this action because it's not what I really want, it is a simple and "civil action" of protest for the president to take the final decision on a matter that has been dragging for too long. It is a civil action against injustice.
If the president grants his assent on the renouncement, it is ok, at least bodies of civil societies can take up the course and stand for me in the struggle against injustice. If he does not grant it and my promotion was restored back, it means all the staff that were retired unjustly will benefit from the president's judgement. I will never be part of corruption.
Eighteen people have died due to social injustice and frustration in my institution. As I am speaking to you now, the school has been on strike for two month due to deduction in salaries of the staff.
Although, the only way to let go in a civil way is to give the matter to the president because I want the president to take the decision especially with his stand against corruption. The corruption in the federal ministry of education cannot be explained.
I want you to know that the Head of Service and Attorney General of the Federation have been in my support since the inception of the issue but the rector refused to honour the directive of the Head of service and the advice of the attorney general of the federation.
In the letter I wrote to the president, I asked him to investigate the matter and if any of the issue I raised turns to be a lie constitutionally, I should be sentenced to death.
PT: Demotion is not a new thing in the civil service. Why do you feel you were victimised when others are not complaining or speaking out?
Mr Koreyo: The idea is, demotion should be done properly. When you are demoted, as contained in my work, it should contain an effective date. When I was promoted to chief lecturer, I have an effective date on the letter of October 1, 2007.
When I was demoted in 2010, the letter does not have an effective date to reflect the policy of government they claim to be implementing, so I rejected the letter and requested them to put a date and give me a proper letter.
A letter of demotion without a date can never be accepted by any organisation. Any document without a date is invalid and has no legal use. Also the action that resulted to it never followed due process because all these information were considered by the Head of Service before a letter was written to the rector to restore my position.
PT: Your institution said the Master's degree you had is not relevant to your profession. Don't you think it is a justification for the action the institution is taking against you?
Mr Koreyo: Like I said earlier, due process was not taken in all their processes. The head of service has to develop the modalities for the policy they were implementing but the Federal Ministry of Education failed in the responsibility of oversight function and they allowed the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), to develop modalities to help the rectors mop money of some academic staff, so that these staff won't benefit from the arrears of the Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTISS) 15 policy that came on board.
I had the MBA in project management technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and the programme involves 18 month of lecture and two years of thesis. The same MBA was used for my promotion from lecturer 1 to senior lecturer in 2007.
In 2010 when the policy came, I was due and recommended for promotion. The scheme of service talked about having a Master's degree but it never specified the type of Maters degree. I would not have been able to teach the three courses I am teaching presently without the MBA in project management technology. The only Master's degree the ministry said is not acceptable is MBA executive.
Moreover, the research area I did is related to my first degree. I did research in glass industry project and I had my first degree in industrial design with specialisation in glass technology. I followed the public service due process by going for the programme.
The three courses I am teaching are Industrial management, Quality control assurance and Value and ethics in profession.
This problem emanated from the planned financial crime by rectors to deny some staff of funds released for arrears and they really made billions out of it for their personal pocket.
Meanwhile the circular sent by the federal ministry of education said the modalities for the CONTISS 15 will be developed by Head of Service.
PT- For nursing the feeling of suicide for eight years, what has been your state of health? Are you mentally fit to lecture the students?
Mr Koreyo: Once the issue became so serious, I started a non-governmental organisation to keep my mind off thinking about injustice and official corruption. Imagine a chief lecturer, Okechukwu Gabriel, who was demoted and could not cope with it, fell sick and died of frustration. To my amazement, the man died on Sunday and the school restored his promotion on Monday, without due process.