The National leadership of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) is set for a show down with the management of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, over the sack of 23 of its members.
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The union claimed its members were sacked for exposing alleged corrupt practices by the Vice Chancellor and management of the institution.
In a communique at the end of its National Executive Council meeting, SSANU said contrary to insinuations from the management of the institution that the union members were disengaged for various act of insubordination, stealing among others, the staff were sacked for reporting corrupt practices in the institution to the EFCC and ICPC.
The union also wants the federal government to institute a special visitation panel to investigate the activities of the Vice Chancellor and the leadership of other institutions accused of corrupt practices.
The Governing Council of the university had last Thursday approved the sack of 23 SSANU members, including the entire branch executive of the association, its National Public Relations Officer, the Bursar, three medical doctors and two medical workers.
The management of the institution claimed that the staff were sacked for “stealing of University property, insubordination and willful disobedience to lawful instructions” , absconding from assigned duty posts, engaging in sabotage and other forms of gross misconduct prejudicial to good governance and peace of the University.
The union threatened to take legal action to protect the rights of its members and asked the EFCC to immediately conclude its investigation into the petition against the Vice Chancellor and management of the institution.
The communique signed by the association’s National President, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke and the National PRO, Comrade A.O. Salaam, read in part: “SSANU NEC in session received the disgusting and shocking news of the recent developments at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, where twenty-three (23) members of the Union, including the entire branch executive of SSANU had their appointments terminated for union activities and for reporting crime to the appropriate organs of government.
“NEC noted that members of the Union, in spite of the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government, reported serious cases of abuse of power and corruption to the federal government through the presidency, the federal ministry of education, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission.
“NEC further noted that following invitation of the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor by the EFCC, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, began a reign of terror and clampdown on the petitioner’s and the union, culminating in the termination of their appointments without following due process as stipulated by law despite the fact that the matter is pending in court.
“NEC in session was surprised that rather than being commended for playing roles in the national interest, their appointments were terminated as a cover-up and in retaliation for exposing the rot, corruption and fraud inherent within the system.”
The union also “condemns the exposure, hazards and tension which members of the union have been exposed to since the investigation started.
“NEC requests the EFCC to speedily conclude its investigations and further demands that the Federal Government urgently intervenes by setting up Special Visitation/Investigation Panels into the affairs of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, University of Abuja, Federal University of Technology, Akure, and other universities where allegations of corruption have been levelled against the Vice-Chancellors.
“NEC resolved that it would do everything legally possible to ensure the reinstatement of the sacked workers and urges the Federal Government to act swiftly in the interest of overall peace in the university system.”
Three SSANU members had recently petitioned the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Olusola Oyewole to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over allegations bordering on corruption and abuse of office leading to the detention of the Vice-Chancellor by the anti graft agency.
“The National leadership of SSANU had encouraged three of the members to petition the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor to the EFCC, the ICPC, the Presidency and the Federal Ministry of Education over alleged corruption and abuse of office.”