The controversy arising from the suspension of 460 staff of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike may have been far from being over, as a board member of the university has accused the former VC of the institution professor Hillary Edoga of high handedness, mismanagement and corruption.
Speaking to Abia Facts Newspaper, a member of the council and chairman committee on works Chief Amanze Udenze told AFN that from the councils investigation, bulk of those employed by the former VC were unqualified to man some of the positions they occupied, he also said that most of the projects undertaken by Edoga were fraudulently awarded to contractors at inflated costs and in some cases a particular job will be given to two contractors at the same time putting the institution into several litigations arising from the fraudulent award of contracts and collection of upfront payment from the affected contractors which has led to delivery of substandard jobs and most of the buildings are already caving in, he stated that professor Edoga did not follow the standard labour laws while employing the suspended 460 staff that were suspended by the university authorities.
He said according to extant labour laws any employment that must go above 100 persons in such an institution, must be made to go through the approval of the board and such vacancies, advertised on national dailies for people to apply, being a federal university the principle of quota system must be applied inline with the employment guidelines of the federation, but rather than do the proper thing, some of the disengaged staff had confessed that professor Edoga dished out employment letters to them in hotel rooms, and in restaurants others say they paid large sums of money to get the job while some others were employed four days to the end of his tenure.
He explained that the board is looking into the controversial employment and all those who are qualified will be readmitted.
Prof. Edoga at the moment has formed a parallel government within the school and has built for himself an official edifice where he uses as his office complex outside the approval of the school authorities, and has instigated the press and his clique within the school to frustrate Prof. Otunta’s administration, Udenze said.
He also said that it was alleged that under professor Edoga’s watch a lot of unqualified professors were turned out by the school making a mockery of professorship.
Chief Amanze said that very soon the board will sit and recommend the measures to be taken to address the damage that Edoga did to the institution.
Our interaction with some of the suspended staff who spoke to us on condition of anonymity confirmed that they paid large sums of money, while some of the women had to offer themselves for sex in exchange for the job, those interviewed pleaded with the new VC to please consider the current state of unemployment and hardship in the country and consider regularizing them since Prof. Edoga did not regularize their appointment before leaving office as Vice Chancellor.
Abia Facts Newspaper tried series of times to get in touch with Prof. Hilary Edoga, but he refused to comment.