Concerned professors of the University of Jos have decried the manner the House of Representatives Committee on Federal Character has interrogated and threatened the university management with prosecution over alleged imbalances in the distribution of staff, stating that the committee clearly lacks the powers to issue such threat.
Briefing journalists in Jos at the weekend, the members, led by Professor Noel Wannang, said though they are not against the lawmakers carrying out their oversight functions, they must do so with decorum.
The professors said they were in possession of a video trending in the social media on the interactive session between the committee and management of the university. “In the said video, the committee alleged imbalances in the distribution of staff of the university to the advantage of the North Central Zone and of Plateau State in particular.
They noted that after watching the video clip, they observed that the committee, from its opening remarks, had already presumed the university guilty of violating the federal character principles. Specifically, they referred to the university as the ‘Federal University of Plateau State’- an act that exposes a premeditated intention.
While the said encounter was meant to be an interaction, they however, noted that it was rather an interrogation of the university management, who were badgered with questions but not given the chance to adequately respond, thus denying them fair hearing.
They also noted that while the university management was willing to provide documentary evidence in support of their case, they were denied the opportunity.
they stated that the governing council is the appropriate organ responsible for appointments, employment and promotion of staff. Such appointments with regards to principal officers of the university, are usually well advertised and candidates given equal opportunities by the council. The council executes these functions on behalf of the visitor, who is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
They stressed that though the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Sebastian Maimako is from Plateau State, his deputies, Prof. Ishaya Tanko DVC (Academic) and Prof. Greg Ejikeme (Administration) are from Kebbi and Abia States respectively, adding that the current Bursar, Philip Umbugala hails from Nassarawa State.
It is worthy to note that since inception of the university- forty five years ago, only six Plateau State indigenes have been appointed vice- chancellors and out of 24 deputy vice-chancellors, none had ever been from Plateau State. Similarly, in the forty five year history of the university, no Plateau indigene has ever been appointed librarian; and only two were appointed bursars.