The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has decried corruption in tertiary institutions, pledging to partner the Federal Government, anti-graft agencies and unions in tackling the menace.
The association’s national president, Comrade Chinonso Obasi, who made the stance known in a statement after a press briefing at the weekend in Abuja, gave the Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State; Prof. Francis Otunta, a seven-day ultimatum, starting from January 20, to resign from office “for gross incompetence, maladministration and overwhelming allegations of corrupt practices.
“Failure by Prof. Otunta to comply with this patriotic call would be met with serious resistance, as we shall not hesitate to occupy and chase him out of the university.”
NANS also gave Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State same deadline to reopen Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, describing the governor’s recent utterances during a peaceful protest by the students as shameful, uncivil and belittling of the office he holds. The institution was shut some eight months ago over demand for payment of salaries and other perks by both academic and non-academic members of staff.
Reacting through a telephone chat, Otunta, said: “As far as I know, I am free from any corruption charges. And that Chinonso Obasi is more corrupt than any person: He was my student when I was a rector. I have only been a vice chancellor for 11 months and all the atrocities committed in Michael Okpara University are on record which I want the media to come and find out. I know who is corrupt.
“Obasi was an expelled student of mine when I was a rector. I was outside the country when they caught him cheating in an examination and he was dismissed.
“Ask anybody about me, I am a man with an impeccable result. I have been chief executive for eight years and was reappointed for another five years. When a very well known thief made such an allegation, you should have jailed him first. But I must tell him that force will meet with force.”
The NANS leader, who also condemned the protracted industrial unrest at the Federal University of Technology Akurre (FUTA), Ondo State, pleaded with government to rein in the institution’s vice chancellor, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, just as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the United Nations’ 26 per cent vote of the national budget for education. He made the appeal following his displeasure for the amount earmarked for the sector in the 2017 appropriation Act.