NUC, Universities VCs Denies Bribery Allegation Against Reps
The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities across the country on Friday denied allegations of offering bribes to members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating job racketeering in federal agencies to obtain favour.
The Vice Chancellors, who spoke during the resumed investigative hearing held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, passed a vote of confidence on Hon. Yusuf Gagdi’s Ad-hoc Committee.
Vice Chancellor, University of Jos, Professor Ishaya Tanko who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellors, explained that the Group is eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the work of the Ad-hoc Committee to address issues bothering on manpower shortage in the universities.
He said to his best of knowledge, money that was sent by some Vice Chancellors was meant for a foreign exchange for them to attend an international workshop organised for them in Birmingham, the United Kingdom beginning from Tuesday, September 5, adding that the publisher did not get his facts correct.
He 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.
“What I recalled happened was that the next day, there was a workshop for the Vice Chancellors and because there is another international workshop organised for CVCNU, I recalled that a number of people were looking for estacode in form of foreign exchange that will enable them travel.
“I also remember that a number of Vice Chancellors were looking for where to get foreign exchange that is reasonable considering the fact that it is difficult to get DTA to travel.
“I can confirm that majority of the Vice Chancellors are going to travel between Saturday and Monday because the training of commencing on Tuesday in Birmingham.
“Somebody suggested that gentleman and 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 bribe is completely out of context and not true. Whoever made the publication refused to find out the fact before going to press. They should have contacted some of the Vice Chancellors to find out the purpose for which they made those transfers.
“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 it’s work so that the challenges relating to employment in Nigeria universities are addressed so that we can continue to provide the quality manpower we need for the development of this country.”
Professor Tanko said the university system in the country is in 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.
He said: “When this Committee invited us to a meeting with regard to 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 with respect to employment as we speak.
“Infact, 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 noted.
In his remarks, Acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), John Maiyaki who argued that the publication on the bribery allegations was regrettable, noted that the Commission has confidence in the mandate given to the Ad-hoc Committee to help in resolving some crises in the education sector regarding job racketeering.
He said: “Chair, honourable members, 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 promises for the Nigerian University system.
“In every country, university system occupy a special place in the life of a Nation and we believe the task is too Herculean for one sub-sector alone to handle and that’s why we look up to the National Assembly, we also look up to the future so that we can together create that game changing opportunity for the country,” he stated.
While speaking, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi disclosed that the Ad-hoc Committee has resolved that it will not be distracted from the central issue that has been 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 disclosed that Members of the Ad-hoc Committee also resolved to take legal action if investigation by the anti-graft agencies failed to link the account number to any member of the Ad-hoc Committee.