Following a number of allegations bordering on abuse of due process, mismanagement, immorality, fraud and corruption, among others, Adamu Adamu, the minister of Education, has inaugurated ad hoc committees to investigate petitions brought against 10 tertiary institutions across the country.
The institutions involved are Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, Kastina State; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State; University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, and Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State. Others are University of Abuja, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Calabar; Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State; Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State and Yaba College of Technology, Lagos State.
According to the minister, the terms of reference of the panels are to carefully study and investigate all allegations contained in the petitions against the institutions or individuals. “To seek to determine the veracity of the claims and counter-claims by considering the circumstances and talking to as many witnesses as possible. To meet and interview the writers of the petitions and establish the basis of their claims.
“To ensure fair hearing by meeting with, and listening to explanations from all those against whom the petitions have been written.” Adamu said that the committees should investigate the application of funds, particularly the special grants and loans meant for specific projects.
Adamu also expect the committee to investigate the procedure of contract awards, admission processes as well as appointments and promotions. They will be recommending appropriate penalties in each case and make any other recommendations deemed suitable.
The minister said that panels were set up in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to promoting due process, fairness, accountability and transparency in the control and management of public resources. Adamu said that the allegations and counter-claims made against governing councils and managements of the institutions has created mistrust and hostility and hindered the smooth conduct of academic activities.
He however warned members of the committee that the exercise was not meant to judge or witch-hunt anybody. He said that members were selected based on the track record of integrity. Earlier in her remarks.
In the same vein, Folashade Yemi-Esan, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, urged members of the panels to be courageous in carrying out their findings and making their recommendations.
Responding on behalf of the chairmen and members of the ad hoc committees, Malam Salihu Abubukar, chairman of the committees thanked the ministry for the confidence reposed in them. He said that their assignment was a heavy responsibility, which must be carried out with a sense of duty. “We owe this to our country and people as a responsibility and duty. We are fact-finding committees not “fund finding” committees and our recommendations will be based on facts and the fear of God,” Abubakar said. The committees were given 10 days each to submit their reports.
In recent times, there have been allegations of corrupt practices among senior officer in most of the country’s higher institutions.
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