BY ACHOR ABIMAJE |
Staff and students of the University Of Jos were yesterday left stranded outside the main campus gate and the permanent site as a result of protest, which started in the early hours by students and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), University of Jos chapter over the suspension of the selection process for a new vice chancellor of the university.
Our correspondent reports that all gates were locked, with students holding various placards with inscription such as “Say no to external interference”.
It was also gathered that the protest is purported to be about the suspension of the process of selecting a new vice chancellor of the university following the expiration of the five years tenure of the incumbent VC, Prof Sabastine Maimako come June this year.
But the secretary Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) University of Jos chapter Comrade Muplang Simon Kangpe while addressing newsmen in Jos on the development said SSANU is not aware of any breach of the extant laws regarding the selection process leading to the emergence of a new vice chancellor for the University of Jos.
He said neither are they aware of any petition submitted by any candidate, civil society organisations (CSOs), unions, Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Character Commission.
According to SSANU secretary, if at all there is any, the right thing should have been initiating a detailed investigation of the processes so far before any decision is arrived at stressing that to their greatest dismay, the entire selection process was ordered to be suspended and invitation was extended to all council members to appear before the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) unfailingly Wednesday the 22nd of April 2021.
“This, we strongly feel is orchestrated to truncate the laid down statutory processes duly followed before the invitation. May we also state that it is an outright disregard of the University Autonomy Act and a usurpation of responsibility of the University Governing Council,” he said.
They argued that this is an external interference skewed to favour a particular candidate as against the integrity of the process.
SSANU recalled that sometime in February this year the University lost its pro-chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council, the Late Prince Tony Momoh after a protracted illness.
He pointed out the University of Jos Act Cap U8 LFN 2004, Third Schedule, Article 1(7) states, “if the Pro-Chancellor is not present at a meeting of the Council, such other member of the Council present at the meeting as the Council may appoint in respect of that meeting shall be the Chairman at that meeting, and subject to Sec 4 of the Act and the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, the Council may regulate its own procedure.”
Kangpe further said the University of Jos Governing Council Standing Orders Article 9 further supports stating that, “ if the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Council, such other member of the Council present at the meeting as the Council may appoint in respect of that meeting shall be the Chairman at that meeting.
“In compliance with the above provisions, subsisting Council Members through due process elected Dr. (Mrs.) Philomena Mutbam to preside over the Governing Council’s meeting for that day.
It may interest you to note that the late Chairman of Council had initiated the process for the emergence of a new Vice-Chancellor via an advert on 23rd December, 2020.”