UNIABUJA is rotten, says panel
The Presidential Visitation Panel to the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) has recommended the sack of the university’s management.
The panel, which admitted that the university is stinking, also said the top officials should be reprimanded for contract splitting and irrational decision to buy N37 million plastic chairs.
About N110, 647, 045.00 was uncovered to have been misappropriated in the name of security honorarium.
A top official of the university is expected to cough out N25, 501, 415. 08 “needlessly and unilaterally spent on image making and public relations”.
But some top officers of the Federal Ministry of Education are trying to shield the report away from President Goodluck Jonathan, it was learnt at the weekend.
The rot in the university was discovered by the Visitation Panel headed by Dr. T. C. Osanakpo (SAN).
According to the panel’s report, many students graduated from the university without completing the requirements.
It established a case of 31 students in the English Department, who graduated desspite having a number of carry-over courses in the 2003/2004 academic session.
Besides lack of infrastructure, the panel said, the university’s admission has been abused without taking cognisance of the capacity of its staff and facilities.
The report said: “The quality of the buildings and environment on the mini-campus is well below the standard expected of a university. The mini-campus is indeed a mockery of a university. The buildings on both the Mini and Main campuses do not provide adequate number of staff offices, classrooms, lecture theatres, laboratory spaces and other facilities for the use of both the staff and students of the university.
“After a careful review and evaluation of relevant documents on admission and examination, interaction with management and senior staff in the Registry and academic Planning Unit, some heads of departments and deans, it became clear to the Panel that:
“Up till now, there is no Admissions Office and a clearly identifiable desk officer. From July 2009, the Senate Committee on admission, which hitherto handled admission, became extinct.
“However, it was also revealed to us that there are at present two Admissions Committee, namely Central Admissions Committee and Senate Admissions Committee, whose members were handpicked by the Vice-Chancellor.
“A large number of the final Admission lists submitted to the panel did not have JAMB or Post-UTME scores; thus their authenticity was in doubt.
“The administration of Post-UTME test was not consistently done and used for admission purposes. While in some cases it was written, in others it was either oral or not done at all. It is clear that the admissions based on 40 per cent of the total were solely handled by the Vice Chancellor’s office (which should not be so) after departmental and faculty recommendations of the first 60 per cent.
“Only the first 60per cent of admissions adhered to the JAMB Admission categories of merit, catchment and EDLS to a large extent, while there was no evidence of how the balance of 40 per cent was done except for staff and some concessional requests from outside the University. Nonetheless, the 40 per cent often exceeded the numerical value of the earlier 60 per cent as the final figure often exceeded by a large percentage of the carrying capacity of the university. It would be safe to say that the second-tier admission exercise for a so called 40 per cent violated JAMB guidelines in every aspect.
“The selection of staff/any designated university official’s biological children did not necessarily undergo scrutiny by the Deputy Registrar (Academic) to ascertain the authenticity of claims as should be the case before forwarding the requests to the Committee of Deans that approved such lists in this University. Consequently, the process was grossly abused. This was reinforced by the number of requests by an individual like the Bursar who sent in 118 names in 2009/2010 in addition to pressure from outside
“Record keeping on examinations is very poor. Similarly the computation of students, Grade Point Average (GPA) and Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) was found to be poor resulting in wrong determination of final degree classification.
“Thirty one (31) students of English Department graduated with varying numbers of carry-over courses in 2003/2004 session which the University panel investigated but not determined to date. This indicates the highest degree of carelessness, incompetence and insensitivity. The Department has not been able to defend this. We have every reason to believe that there could be more of such cases. The senate should be directed to revisit these cases and take appropriate action.
“A number of students both regular and part-time (CDL & CE) have graduated without completing their requirements for graduation. We would by sighting some departmental results and receive complains. It is like a fairy tale what is going on in the University of Abuja . There were also petitions on errors in degree classifications of graduands already issued with success letters signed by the Registrar of the university.
“Generally, it was observed that most of the departments followed the correct format of presenting results that go to Senate for approval. However, the following departments were found to be the only ones that kept spread sheets. Linguistics and African Languages, Geography and Computer Science. We also observed that there is no Examination Records Office in this University to handle all examination matters, instead they are handled either by the Academic Office or Academic Planning office with none being solely responsible.”
On financial management, the panel called for the replacement of an audit firm which had undertaken the University’s Audit for the past eight years (2004 to 2012) should be replaced by the council
It added: “The Auditor-General for the Federation should in the interim be directed to appoint the external auditors for the university and superintend their work plan and the segmented execution of the audit to completion
“The financial system in the university needs to be overhauled. There should be a customised Accounting Manual as well as an Internal Audit Manual designed by Professionals, using the NUC Manual as a guide.
“The manual which should also incorporate the computerisation of the system will help to strengthen the financial system, standardise and improve general financial operations of the university. It would also strengthen internal control and correct the anomalies of the present system whereby the operations are centered on an individual in the person of the Vice Chancellor.
“The budgetary system in the university needs to be improved and budgets implemented according to plan. The Finance and General Purposes Committee responsible for budget monitoring as a committee of the university council, should stringently monitor and review the university budget implementation from time to time and report to the Council accordingly.
“In accordance with the laws of the land, the university should as a matter of urgency remit all taxes deducted from contractors as well as PAYE.
“The Pro-Chancellor should refund N3, 645, 578. 62 being sums expended on his wife’s medical expenses.
“The management of the university should be advised in strong terms that this matter of expenditure amount to financial impunity which should not be tolerated in a federal establishment
“The total amount of N25, 501, 415. 08 needlessly and unilaterally spent on image making and public relations should be recovered.
“The amount of N110, 647, 045.00 misappropriated in the name of security honorarium should be recovered.
“The rates applied for the payment of sitting allowances and other entitlements to external members of the University Council should conform to the provisions of the extant of government circulars.”
“The university with the support of the government should embark on massive infrastructural development to correct the perceived imbalance between facilities and end users, as a way of improving the learning environment and addressing the welfare issues arising. While this is being done, the existing facilities should be revamped to serve their purpose more effectively.”
A member of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), UNIABUJA Chapter, said: “Some top officers of the Ministry of Education have been trying to suppress the report. Instead, they have been encouraging security agencies to clampdown on our members.
“Yet, our position is that UINABUJA ought to be a model university and not a glorified secondary school that it is today.”