Published on: Wed, 04 Apr 2018 04:31:40
Rejoinder to the Nation's Publication entitled "VC, Workers Fight at Lokoja Varsity": Setting the Record Straight
The attention of the University Management has been drawn to a recent publication in The Nation's Newspaper of Thursday March 1, 2018 wherein the paper alleged that workers in the University were demanding for the arrest of the Vice-Chancellor by the EFCC for corruption and nepotism. Ordinarily, Management would have ignored the publication since the allegations are baseless, malicious and unwarranted. However, in order not to allow falsehood and wicked propaganda to thrive and take the place of truth, thereby misleading the general public, the University Management has decided to put the record straight.
On assumption of office on the 25th February, 2016, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Angela Freeman Miri, left no one in doubt about her mandate and vision for the University. She brilliantly articulated a dynamic and robust vision for the Federal University Lokoja. This document was presented to the University Governing Council where it was adopted and commended as a veritable road-map for the rapid development and transformation of the Federal University Lokoja. The focal points of this document were staff development and welfare, provision of complementary teaching and learning facilities, promotion of cutting edge research, entrepreneurship and development of synergy between town and gown.
These laudable objectives provided the framework for the following:
- Due to series of petitions from staff members for proper placement, the Vice-Chancellor constituted a Committee to look into these complaints and advised Management appropriately. The report of this Committee was forwarded to the University Governing Council for consideration and approval. The approved recommendations were implemented by Management.
- In order to reinvigorate the administrative machinery of the University, new Heads of Departments and Directors were appointed in line with the extant laws.
- Some key non-teaching staff members were redeployed to critical areas of needs taking into consideration their level of experience and training.
- The enlarged Management Committee of the University as previously constituted was reconstituted in line with the provisions of the laws establishing the University.
These four (4) critical activities that were germane to the realization of the vision of the Vice-Chancellor were the kernel to some of the sponsored petitions and malicious publications against the person of the Vice-Chancellor and her Management team. The "bring her down at all cost syndrome" was to maintain the status-quo irrespective of the progressive change being introduced. Change is inevitable, we must all embrace it for the benefit of the system and humanity.
Allegations in the Nation's Newspaper:
The discerning public will note that the publication in The Nation's newspaper was a rehash of the sit-down protest embarked upon by ASUU-FUL held on Tuesday January 16, 2018 (Management response on the protest appeared in the Daily Trust Newspaper of Friday January 26, 2018). Unfortunately, the rehash was badly done. In their desperation to cast aspersions on the person of the Vice-Chancellor, the sponsors of the publication threw caution to the wind and fabricated blatant lies to deceive the reading public. If the intention of the sponsors of the publication was to portray the Vice-Chancellor in bad light and discourage her from pursuing her vision for a virile and robust Federal University Lokoja, they have failed. The Vice-Chancellor and her Team are more resolute in their determination to overcome all daunting challenges, including smear campaigns, to achieve their lofty goals for the University. It is very instructive to note ASUU-FUL's recent release dated March 6, 2018 wherein the Union disassociated itself from The Nation's publication. The Union went on to affirm that most of the issues raised in the publication were not contained in their resolutions. Responsible Journalism requires that a Reporter verifies his/her stories for proper reportage. This was the least expected from The Nation. A brief visit to the University would have saved the writer of the said publication this embarrassment.
It would further interests members of the public to note that staff members who were entitled to TETFund Grants, Study Fellowship and Conference Attendances have since been paid and that arrears for the 2016 promotion exercise were fully paid to all entitled staff with the exception of those on Professorial cadre whose outcome of external assessment are being awaited. This was made possible with the recent release of funds by the Federal Government.
It should also be noted that the University Management has never violated any extant laws with regards to financial matters. Remuneration, Allowances and other payments are made with recourse to the financial regulations and as approved by the Governing Council. Payments are processed and effected as soon as funds are made available by the Federal Government and in strict compliance with the due process mechanism. Thus, delay in payments should not be ascribed to the University in this regard.
Alleged Construction of a Liaison Office in Abuja
The University does not even have a land in Abuja not to talk of contracting any construction work. This is simply a Fool's tale.
Management wishes to call on the general public to disregard The Nation's publication. At best, it is the handiwork of a few desperate, disgruntled elements who are bent on derailing the good works of the present administration. Be rest assured that Management remains focused and determined more than ever before to provide dynamic and purposeful leadership to drive to success the Vice-Chancellor's vision for the Federal University Lokoja. We call on all well-meaning staff, students, members of the University Community and the general public to continue to support and cooperate with the University Management as we are on course for a virile and stable University of our dream and as envisioned by its founding fathers.