The Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, Owerri zone has protested the suspension order given to Dr Uzochukwu Onyebinama, chairman of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike [MOUAU] chapter of the union over alleged fraud and examination malpractices. The union called on the university authority to immediately revoke the suspension, which it described as callous.
However, the MOUAU Vice Chancellor, Prof Hilary Edeoga, said that Onyebinama’s suspension was prescribed by the rules of service of the university concerning fraud and misconduct, and not because of his role as ASUU Chairman.
But the union resolved after its congress at the university last week to commence action against the management until it reversed the suspension.
The resolution which was announced by the Owerri zonal coordinator of ASUU, Prof Ike Odumegwu, said that the measure to suspend the chairperson, place him on half salary and ban him from entering the campus because he sought redress in the court against the university over cases of injustice, were unacceptable.
Defending the management’s decision, Edeoga explained that Onyebinama did not wait for the outcome of the investigation before running to the court which he said was against the university’s rule.
The VC said: “The rules of the university are very clear on certain matters: you don’t take the university to court. The rule says that if you are suspended you go on half salary”.
Edeoga said that Onyebinama was also guilty of examination fraud by awarding suspicious marks to students, which the Senate found abnormal – in addition to allegations of incompetence and mismanagement against him as the Director of Continuing Education Center [CEC].
He disclosed that the problem started after Onyebinama was removed as the Director of CEC.
“They started writing all sorts of petitions even against the new Director but I stood my ground that the right thing must be done,” he said.
Edeoga said that the panel of investigation into a case of misconduct against Onyebinama and that of the staff disciplinary committee found him guilty of the allegations of dereliction of duty, abuse of office and deliberate breach of senate guidelines.