Written by Godfrey AKON

Outcry as FG sacks 12 Vice Chancellors

There are indications that the Federal Government’s sack of 12 Vice Chancellors of 12 federal universities established by the Goodluck Jonathan administration may have unsettled the academic community in the country.

In the statement on Saturday, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu in Abuja, simply said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of new vice chancellors for the universities without any reason for the sack.

Amongst the 12 sacked is the Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, Prof. Vincent Tenebe.

But the decision is already generating ripples, with some members of the intelligentsia claiming that it is only the Governing Council of NOUN of which Tenebe is a member that could only remove him.

A human rights organisation, Coalition of Civil Society Groups, has protested the sack in a letter to Buhari, demanding 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.

The CCSG in its protest letter to Buhari signed by its president, Etuk Bassey Williams and Secretary-General, Ibrahim Abubakar, 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 twelve appointed VCs are from Kano university, an action they said, was a clear violation of the federal character principle.

“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 coalition said.

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.”

 

The organisation regretted that none of the Vice Chancellors were allowed to complete their tenures and were all removed without following due process of the law.

 

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