The attention of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, has been drawn to online news and other Reports of harassment and intimidation of Mr. Noble Eyisi and his aides. In the said publications, several allegations were leveled against the University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Joseph E. Ahaneku, FAS by the Students Union Government President Noble Eyisi.
1. The first allegation is that Year one students were asked to pay the sum of N7,500 as Biometric Capturing Fee. The write up also noted that 6000 students paid, amounting to N45 million.
For so many years admission process and other transactions in the University have been fraught with fraud. The quality of the examination system in the University became threatened so much that fake admission pervaded the system. So many syndicates within and outside the University preyed on the vulnerable university’s lack of data base to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
Therefore the current university administration introduced a data capturing fee which has enabled the University to build a world class data base that has completely eliminated the activities of syndicates and impersonators especially with regard to the admission process. For instance, during the last Post Utme screening test in 2014, 88 impersonators were caught with the help of data capturing machines lavishly procured by the University and the robust verification platform that was created. Many of these impersonators were charged to court. The numerous candidates who made UNIZIK their first choice had the privilege of having an entirely stress-free test, which result was released three hours after the test. These admission racketeers are obviously not happy.
It is also worthy of mention that today in the University students receive their results, promptly, sometimes within 10days after the examination. The recent release of General Studies’ results of students by SMS to their phones is one of the dividends of building a credible data base.
Therefore, it is incorrect for a Students’ Union leader to demand the University to account to it over a University wide policy for incoming students only, and which is captured in the University’s accounting system. Such demand lacks any basis and merit.
It is also reasonable to deduce that peripheral forces who have lost all modicum of decency and whose fraudulent means of livelihood have been plugged are now trying to throw spanner in the works, in a bid to probably see if they can regain their lost ground and continue to use the University as a market place of ‘anything goes’.
2. The entire students of the University pay Students’ Union Government dues. Such monies are channeled for the use of students after the Students Union Government budget has been approved by the Students’ Union Government Legislature. The University, through the Dean Students Affairs, supervises the students’ activities and insists that the SUG must submit their budget to their legislature for approval before any money can be spent. As of today the SUG leader has refused to submit his budget for approval by the Students Representative Council (SRC). The Students Union leader Noble Eyisi ought to subject his activities to the oversight of the legislature and recognize that he has to respect other arms of the students’ leadership. The SUG leader requesting the VC to furnish him with money in the SUG account is misrepresentation of fact as he is a signatory to that account; he knows where and how to get the account balance.
3. The SUG leader also queried the VC why Post Utme fee was increased from N1000 to N2000 in the 2014/2015 academic session. This is laughable as the SUG leader either because of his young age or lack of proper advice cannot be questioning a policy for candidates who are not yet students of the University. Given that this has become public knowledge it has become necessary to state that what Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka charged is about the lowest in the entire country. It is common knowledge that some public universities charged as much as N3,500 per student. It is important to state also that the N2000 UNIZIK charged per candidate in the Post Utme 2014/2015 session was still inadequate considering the huge logistic preparation associated with the test. The money collected was used to pay expenses associated with the examination including payment of stipend to invigilators.
4. The SUG leader also wanted explanation why faculty and departmental dues have been on the high side. As a matter of deliberate policy, the University Management does not encourage any form of increase in dues paid by students in the faculties and departments. The new university administration at its inception sent a memo to all faculties and departments warning against any form of unauthorized fees or levies and further directed that any such demands should be immediately. Up till now no report of any increase has been received by the Vice-chancellor’s office. The University will not allow the exploitation of students in any way.
5. Concerning the prize of food in the University which the SUG leader singlehandedly pegged at N150 per plate without recourse to the Students legislative house, the University had advised against arbitrary pegging as some poor students will be denied the benefit of buying food at below N150. This universal pegging is suspect as prior to the pegging regime, students bought food sometimes at N100 and were satisfied. Therefore, insisting on pegging the prize of food at N150 per plate is throwing poor students into increased difficulty. The VC cannot in anyway insist that food should be sold for more than N150.00 per plate. For God’s sake what does he stand to gain? He rather advised that food be sold according to number of serving spoons and in bits as each student can afford instead of the blanket pegging at 150 which will be a serious disadvantage to poor students. The SUG leader disregarded the VC’s advice and also ignored the protest of the other students leaders.
6. Regarding sitting allowances of students’ leaders, it is incumbent on the SUG leader to quickly agree with the students’ legislature to pass their budget to enable them draw their allowances. Trying to draw allowances without budgetary provision, and with the unreasonable refusal of the SUG leader to submit this year’s budget, is unfortunate.
7. The SUG leader’s insistence that students were not consulted before the biometric capturing fee was instituted was tissue of lies. This policy started during the admission process in July/August 2014 before the SUG leader was elected in December 2014. The candidates who were coming to write the UNIZIk post Utme got all the explanation as that data capturing was meant for them and not already admitted students. So for the SUG leader to question University policy that did not concern admitted students calls for concern and shows that he may have been hijacked by merchants of ill-will.
8. The SUG leader also was demanding explanation about money being collected at Temporary site which is clearly outside the University. For the avoidance of doubt the University does not control or collect money from any park whether within and outside the University. This is the responsibility of the SUG Director of Transport and the University has no hand in it at all.
9. Let it be made clear that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University has not in any way harassed any student for holding a particular opinion. Despite his stance Mr. Eyisi is still occupying his room in the University Hostel. Neither Eyisi nor any of his friends are being harassed as he purportedly want the world to understand.
10. The University is aware that the SUG President Mr. Noble Eyisi had a misunderstanding with his other comrades in his executive body for several weeks. Out of 9 elected officials, the President is standing alone. Mr. Eyisi pleaded with the University administration to save him from an impending impeachment already served on him by the Students Representative Council and he was clearly told to go back and mend fences with his colleagues as the university authorities did not want to be seen to be interfering in students’ internal affairs.
11. Finally, let it be clear that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, believes in training leaders of tomorrow and the only way to do this is through a transparent process. This is exactly what the current University administration is doing. Having worked assiduously to eliminate malfeasance in the university, losers in the power game have hijacked the young 19 year old SUG leader with the intention of reverting the gains recorded in the anti-corruption drive in the University. Gone are the days when the University, which should ideally be a respected citadel of learning, would descend into a market place for all manner of fraudsters. Also, the SUG leader is being used by some easily identifiable certificate forgers to divert the attention of the University as the Governing Council is on the verge of setting up a Committee to verify all certificates of staff in the University. In the overall, the current university administration has attracted accolades from many quarters including high value credible opinion holders. While the University administration will remain alert and vigilant as another admission period draws near, using the SUG youngster as a smoke-screen to gain another fraudulent foothold in this highly rated university will never be allowed again.
12. The University will advise the SUG leader to retrace his steps and go back to settle his differences with other student leaders and face his studies with more seriousness.
13. The University assures that all students will be protected and no one will be harassed for holding any view different from that of the University administration. We also advise all students to obey school rules and regulation in the overall interest of our University named after the Great Zik of Africa.
Dr. Emmanuel C. Ojukwu
Director of Information and Public Relations
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