Nigeria: Before Losing South African Citizenship, Nigerian Professor Suspended for Misconduct, School Says

25 February 2021

The university says the professor was facing "allegations of serious misconduct" for which he has been "placed on precautionary suspension" since October 16.

The University of Fort Hare said <a target="_blank" href="">Edwin Ijeoma</a>, the professor of public sector economics <a target="_blank" href="">whose South African citizenship was revoked</a> by the Bhisho high court, had been suspended for misconduct since last year.

The university's spokeswoman, Tandi Mapukata, told <a target="_blank" href="">PREMIUM TIMES</a> in an emailed statement that Mr Ijeoma was facing "allegations of serious misconduct" for which he has been "placed on precautionary suspension" since October 16.

She said Mr Ijeoma's expulsion as a South African citizen only coincided with his suspension for alleged wrongdoing, adding that an investigative hearing on the allegations began Wednesday.

"The disciplinary hearing commenced today (Wednesday) and is still in progress. The university will issue a follow-up statement regarding the outcomes of all processes outlined above," Ms Mapukata said without providing details of the allegation.

Ms Mapukata further said the University of Fort Hare was keeping tabs on the court ruling revoking the South African citizenship of the embattled Nigerian professor who reportedly renounced his Nigerian citizenship much earlier.

"We can confirm that we are now in possession of the judgement. We are also taking urgent advice on the appropriate due process to follow regarding the future of Prof Ijeoma's employment with the university," Ms Mapukata added.

Mr Ijeoma, who arrived in South Africa from Nigeria on a study permit in 1998 to study at the University of Pretoria, was left in the lurch over the week after his South African citizenship was nullified by the country's ministry of home affairs after he was convicted for dubiously marrying a South African woman to obtain citizenship by naturalization.

Authorities had exempted him from immigration restrictions due to his marriage to the South African, but he divorced her in 2017 after the couple was unable to have a child.

Thereafter, he was joined in South Africa by a Nigerian woman, Anne Tomo, whom he had listed as his sister, ultimately leading home affairs officials to charge him for bigamy. He was convicted for the same offence.

Mr Ijeoma has not responded to an email sent to him by PREMIUM TIMES Thursday.

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