Committee Dismisses Bribery Allegation Against Reps Members

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria has denied allegations of offering bribes to members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating job racketeering in Federal agencies to obtain soft landing during an appearance at the committee’s investigative hearing.

The Vice-Chancellor, of the University of Jos, Prof. Ishaya Tanko who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellors when they appeared before the committee said to the best of his knowledge, money that was sent by some Vice Chancellors was meant for foreign exchange for them to attend the international workshop. The workshop was organized for them in Birmingham, the United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 5th.

Professor Tanko said; “During our last meeting, we requested for two weeks because some of the universities did not come with some of the documents required from them. But we read the very disturbing media publication and I can say that the Vice Chancellors are not part of that. The Vice Chancellors have not provided any bribe to anybody. What I recalled happened was that the next day, there was a workshop for the Vice Chancellors and because there is another international workshop organized for CVCNU, I recalled that several people were looking for estacode in the form of foreign exchange that will enable them to travel. I also remember that several Vice Chancellors were looking for where to get foreign exchange which is reasonable because it is difficult to get DTA to travel. I can confirm that the majority of the Vice Chancellors are going to travel between Saturday and Monday because the training is commencing on Tuesday in Birmingham. Somebody suggested that Vice Chancellors who wish to source foreign exchange from him can transfer some money to him to get foreign exchange to travel.

“To say that Vice Chancellors are transferring money for bribes is completely out of context and not true. Whoever made the publication refused to find out the facts before going to press. They should have contacted some of the Vice Chancellors to find out the purpose for which they made those transfers.”

He said; “I want to assure the committee that we have hope and confidence in this committee because as we speak, I can tell you that more than five programmes of the University of Jos are in danger of not receiving accreditation because of this issue of employment.

So, we are looking forward to this committee concluding its work so that the challenges relating to employment in Nigerian universities are addressed so that we can continue to provide the quality manpower we need for the development of this country,” Prof. Tanko said.

He also said that “the university system in the country is facing a major crisis as a result of lack of employment, but expressed their commitment to working together to ensure that the University system continues to stand on the integrity and mandate for which it was created.”

When this committee invited us to a meeting about issues of employment, and other issues, we as Vice Chancellors were very happy that we were invited to offer our perspective because the public university sector is actually in crisis concerning employment as we speak. The majority of public universities have not had the opportunity to replace some of the Professors that we have lost especially before the period that this committee is investigating. We felt that is a great opportunity for the university sector to address some of the challenges that we are having in getting the required manpower for the running of our universities,” he explained.

The Vice Chancellors said that they are eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the work of the committee as they have confidence that it would help them address the issue of manpower shortage in the Universities.

On his part, the Acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Prof John Maiyaki said that the publication of the bribery allegations was regrettable.

He noted that the NUC has confidence in the mandate given to the committee to help in resolving some crises in the education sector regarding job racketeering.

The online social media publication is regrettable, whatever the substance is, we do not in any way wish that this will impede on the excellent ties and relationship between this vital arm of government and the Nigerian University system. This is one system that holds a lot of promise for the Nigerian University system. In every country university system occupies a special place in the life of a Nation and we believe the task is too Herculean for one sub-sector alone to handle That’s why we look up to the National Assembly, and we also look up to the future so that we can together create that game-changing opportunity for the country,”  Prof. Maiyaki said.

He noted that the University community would not allow the publication to affect what he described as ‘a strategic relationship and partnership existing between them and the National Assembly.’

The Chairman of the Committee, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi said the committee has resolved that it would not be distracted from the central issue we were put in place to address.

According to him, the publication was aimed at diverting the attention of the committee, saying “As far as we are concerned, we maintained our stand that it is a sponsored publication so that this committee will lose focus from what it is supposed to do.

He said “it was not the mandate of the committee to investigate the allegations but to investigate the selling of slots, employment imbalance, job racketeering, and many other fraudulent activities that are being done in our public service.”

He however said that the committee has written to anti-corruption agencies and the EFCC to investigate the link between the account and any member of the committee.

He added that members of the committee have resolved to take legal action If an investigation by the anti-graft agencies failed to link the account number to any member of the Committee.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere