By Jude Nnamdi
A Civil Society Group, Anti-Corruption Champions Of Nigeria (ACON) has raised alarm over the massive corruption rocking the management of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Enugu and calls for immediate removal and probe of the Vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Luke Anike, whose tenure of office will soon expire.
Addressing newsmen the National Co-ordinator of the group, Comrade Mathew Nwaiyike, who said that his group has kept tab on the management of the institution since Prof. Anike assumed office as VC, disclosed that fraud and corruption aided by the VC have eaten deep into the purse, pride and image of the institution, warning that if urgent steps are not taken by the anti-corruption agencies and other relevant authorities, the institution may go bankrupt and collapsed.
Disclosing the ongoing rots in the institution, Nwaiyike said that the VC is more of a globetrotter than a university administrator, stressing that in the last four months, the Vice chancellor has travelled to USA, Canada, China, Cyprus and just returned from a trip from Isreal two weeks ago without formal handover or explanations for such travels.
He said: “The most disturbing case is that of Mr. Chibuike Nwatu, whom the VC employed as an Administrative Assistant in 2015. As at today, Chibuike Nwatu performs the functions of the Registrar, Director of Works, Admission Officer, Director of Public Relations, and sometimes superintend over academic departments and faculties. That perhaps explains why he is popularly called Vice Chancellor anafu anya meaning De facto Vice-Chancellor.
“It is not a surprise that in the face of the globetrotting VC Anike, who is hardly on seat, Chibuike Nwatu has assumed a larger than personality in ESUT. The disturbing question that requires urgent answer is how Chibuike Nwatu, who is on salary of about N100, 000 could have amassed wealth as to build several houses and huge account balance when most Principal Officers of the university are borrowing money from the cooperative society. Again to show the level of impunity in ESUT, the same Nwatu who had no prior experience in teaching or qualification has just been appointed lecturer 2 through fiat by the VC and without proper assessment and conversion.”
Another of the scandal in the institution is the indiscriminate employment of workers. According Comrade Nwaiyike, despite the removal of over 157 staff employed by the previous administration, Prof Anike has at November 2019 employed over 300 staff without recourse to due process.
“In fact, since the end of Bishop Igwebuike Onah led Governing Council tenure, over 50 new staff have been employed by the VC. All these appointments have been undertaken at a time, ESUT is yet to pay the huge arrears of over 5 million owed to staff. These unexplainable employment are being taken at a time his administration has resorted to forceful and unjustifiable seizure of funds belonging to ESUT staff Cooperative Society amounting to over N500,000,000 with no feasible plan of repayment.
“In the same vein, admission racketeering has assumed an alarming proportion under Anike’s watch. The harbingers of admission commercialisation are unfortunately the VC and his PA, Nwatu. Apart from those admitted on merit, which constitute less than 30%, all other admissions into Law, Medicine, Medical Laboratory, Pharmacy, and other professional courses are purchased with money ranging from N300,000 to N500,000.
“Appointment of Heads, Directors and Deans has become so irregular, nepotic, sectional and compromised. Several of such appointees have overstayed their statutory tenure, but are retained because they are Anike’s relations, friends and benefactors.
“Apart from his flair for travelling and inability to provide leadership and direction, Prof. Anike has an unfathomable disdain for time. No official engagement including Senate meetings that start at the scheduled time. The consequences of all these is that faculties and departments have been left unsupervised leading to massive corruption and lowering of academic standards. It is now a case of money for mark between students and lecturers,”Comrade Nwaiyike disclosed.
The National Coordinator of the Civil Society Group further called on Enugu State government to set up Independent Panel of Inquiry to commence immediate probe of Prof. Anike before his tenure expires, saying that his group with overwhelming evidence at their disposal has concluded plans to drag the VC to the anti-graft agencies.