The decision of the Plateau State Government to remove the Heads of some State’s Owned Tertiary Institutions has generated mixed reactions across the State. Yesterday, the Plateau State Government in a statement signed by the Secretary of the Government of the State, Arc Samuel Nanchang Jatau, FNIA reads “His Excellency, the Governor of Plateau State Barr Caleb M. Mutfwang has approved the dissolution of the Governing Council of the Plateau State University, Bokkos with immediate effect”. The statement also named four other Heads of institutions that were affected. They include the Rector, Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin Ladi, Provosts, College of Education, Gindiri, College of Health Technology Zawan and College of Health Technology Pankshin. They were directed to handover to the most Senior Officer in their institution immediately.
Reacting to the government decision, Comrade Garba Mustapha, a Senior Staff of a Federal University regretted the action of the government saying government didn’t follow the laid down procedures for the removal of a Vice Chancellor and other Heads of the institutions. Speaking exclusively to www.pointblank.com.ng, Comrade Mustapha displayed a document titled “APPOINTMENT AND REMOVAL OF A VICE CHANCELLOR UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW” written by Prof Ehi Oshio a Professor of Law and former Dean of Law University of Benin.
The document under a subtitle “Removal of Vice-Chancellor” deals exhaustively with the removal of a Vice Chancellor. Section 3(8)-(11) of the Principal Act as amended, vests in the Governing Council power to remove the Vice-Chancellor from office on grounds of gross misconduct or inability to discharge the functions of his office as a result of infirmity of body or mind after due process. It also specifies the procedure for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor to ensure fair-hearing in the process. Upon receipt of a proposal for the removal at the initiative of the Council, Senate or the Congregation, the Council shall constitute a Joint Committee of Council and Senate to investigate the allegations made against the Vice-Chancellor and to report its findings to the Council. Where the allegations are proved, the Council may remove the Vice-Chancellor or apply any other disciplinary action as it deems fit and notify the Visitor accordingly.
The document further reads that “however, the Vice-Chancellor who is removed has a right of appeal to the Visitor. The Section provides: “3(8) The Vice-Chancellor may be removed from office by the Governing Council on grounds of gross misconduct or inability to discharge the functions of his office as a result of infirmity of the body or mind, at the initiative of the Council, Senate or the Congregation after due process.
(9) When the proposal for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor is made, the Council shall constitute a joint committee of Council and Senate consisting of –
(i) three members of the Council one of whom shall be the Chairman of the Committee, and (ii) two members of the Senate, provided that where the ground for removal is infirmity of the body or mind, the Council shall seek appropriate medical opinion.
(10) The Committee shall conduct investigation into the allegations made against the
Vice-Chancellor and shall report its findings to the Council.
11) The Council may where the allegations are proved remove the Vice-Chancellor or apply any other disciplinary action it may deem fit and notify the Visitor accordingly provided that a Vice-Chancellor who is removed shall have right of appeal to the Visitor.”
Comrade Garba Mustapha said, “from the foregoing analysis, the President/Visitor has no power whatsoever to remove a Vice-Chancellor under the enabling laws of the Universities. Any such removal is also illegal, null and void”. He concluded hilariously that “in this case the sacker (Council) an the sackee (VC) were both sacked”
A University Don who wouldn’t want his name mentioned advised Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang to rescind his decision and reinstate the Vice Chancellor to avoid the sledge hammer of NUC which will leave students at the receiving end. He said the experience of Prof DDD Sheni who was sacked as the then Vice Chancellor of the University shouldn’t be allowed to repeat itself.
It would be recalled that when then governor, Jonah David Jang removed Prof DDD Sheni who, just like Prof Bernard Matur, was appointed by his predecessor, Gov Joshua Chibi Dariye, the students of the University were not allowed to be mobilized for the mandatory National Youth Service Corp program. Also, accreditation of programs stalled. The university was almost grounded. He appealed to Visitors of universities to always follow laid down procedures
But in a counter reaction, a forensic auditor and an International Freedom Fighter, Comrade T.N Timkat applauded the decision of the Governor describing it as the best thing that has happened to the State.
Speaking to www.pointblank.com.ng, Comrade Timkat said “my brother, you’re making this comment here because you don’t know how these people mismanaged public funds of the institutions. If I am the governor, I could have probed all of them and eventually most of them could end in prison”. He asked that “do you know how much these people mismanaged in the tertiary institutions in Plateau State? Do you know how much interventions these people received and squandered without any reasonable projects to show for?”. Comrade Timkat continued that “we were hired as Forensic Experts to audit one tertiary institution but what we discovered was quite disheartening. I wept for Plateau State”.
He lamented the consequences of the Heads of the institutions on the students. “Our students are still at home but some few individuals are sharing billions to their individual accounts yet you are defending them?”. He appealed to the citizens to “always ask questions to know why the Government take some certain decisions”