Coalition petitions Buhari over sacking of Tenebe

VC, National Open University of Nigeria Prof. Vincent Ado Tenebe
VC, National Open University of Nigeria Prof. Vincent Ado Tenebe

Group faults appointment of four VCs from Kano

A HUMAN rights organisation, Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG), has protested against the sacking of 13 vice chancellors, demanding the reversal of the decision in which the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Vincent Tenebe, was replaced with Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu of the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano.

The decision is already causing ripples with some members of the academic community claiming that it is only the Governing Council of NOUN, of which Tenebe is a member, that could remove him.

The CCSG in a protest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari signed by its President, Etuk Bassey-Williams and Secretary-General, Ibrahim Abubakar, said the action contravenes the provisions of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act No. 11 of 1993 (as amended) by Decree 25 of 1996 and further amended in 2003 and 2012 respectively and other agreements as contained in the 2009 FGN staff union agreement.

The petitioners said that four out of the twelve appointed VCs are from Kano University, an action they said, was a clear violation of the federal character principle.

The statement said: “While this does not come as a surprise owing to the influence of one of the Special Advisers to the Minister of Education in orchestrating the appointments of his friends and cronies without following due process, we are however concerned about the constitutional breach and the resultant litigation battle this action may cause, which in turn may generate unnecessary distractions to your focused administration.”

“We are compelled to call your attention owing to the illegality in the removal of vice chancellors of 13 federal universities, including the National Open University of Nigeria and the hasty appointment of friends and cronies in place of those illegally removed from office.

“While we are not unmindful of the fact that you would have acted on the recommendation of the Minister of Education in approving their removal, it is pertinent to know that in the pursuit of ambition driven by unguided passion and greed, impunity becomes inevitable as the end irrespective of the means is all that matters and in this case, the removal of these vice chancellors is the outcome of an unguided passion and greed by the Minister of Education and his Special Adviser.

“The constitution is quite clear on the procedures to be followed in the appointment and disengagement of vice chancellors and none of these procedures were followed in the above case.

“The appointment of vice chancellors is a tenured appointment, which pre-supposes that every appointee is expected to serve the prescribed number of years as stipulated by the Acts governing the institutions.”

The CCSG, which regretted that the vice chancellors were not allowed to complete their tenures and were all removed without following due process of the law, said that in the event that a vice-chancellor was to be removed from office before the expiration of his tenure, it is the Board of the Governing Council that is empowered to recommend or effect that removal of an erring vice chancellor before the completion of his term in office.

“In the above case, the minister already dissolved the Board of the Governing Council with the statutory powers to recommend or effect the removal of a vice chancellor from office thereby making the removal of these vice chancellors illegal, null and void”, the Coalition further said.

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