By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The University of Ilorin has rejected the fraud allegation made against its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali and his predecessor, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, who is now the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), describing it as “largely empty and merely rehashed to make it look real.”
Some officers of the South-west zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had last Wednesday submitted a petition at the Ibadan office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in which they accused the two dons of pension fund fraud running into N2.5 billion, and called on the anti-graft agency to institute a probe into the matter.
But reacting to the allegation at the weekend, the management of the university dismissed the petition, saying those behind it “are enemies of progress who are aghast at the pace of progress and continual giant strides being recorded by the university, where transparency, honesty, accountability and due process are the key elements of administration.”
In a statement issued on behalf of the management, the institution Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun, said there was nothing new in the allegations contained in the petition, adding that “the same fellows made the same allegations in August this year while shamefacedly kicking against the nationally acknowledged well-merited appointment of Prof. Oloyede as the Registrar of JAMB. And of course, no one took them seriously, as even President Muhammadu Buhari, who is well-known for his zero tolerance for corruption, is not unaware of the due diligence credentials of the successive administrations of the University of Ilorin.”
Debunking the allegation of fraud in pension fund deductions, Akogun said: “What the administration of Oloyede did was what the law and ICPC directed all universities to do-that instead of the 7.5 being hitherto deducted from the basic salary of workers, the deduction ought to have been from the gross emolument.”
He pointed out that it was that clarification that has since guided the university management’s action,” adding that the deductions were being credited to the Pension Fund Administrators’ (PFA) accounts as and when due till the government started long ago the deduction from source.
“It is also fallacious to allege that the university management did not carry the unions along in all these. The truth is that management met with the unions on the new development and all parties agreed that the PFAs should be credited the full 7.5 per cent. It was the initial under-deduction that was spread for payment over a 24-month period. This had since been concluded a couple of years ago.”
On the charges for the students’ PC tablets and other miscellaneous items, the university spokesman said: “These are statutory charges for extra facilities provided for the academic comfort of our students to make teaching and learning very conducive for them.
“It is on record that the University of Ilorin pioneered the one-student-one-iPad initiative in the country during the 2013/2014 academic session, and this policy has been steadily executed seamlessly since then.”
He however explained that the vagaries of the national economy, which led to the fluctuation of the national currency against the dollar led to the marginal increase in the cost price in the current 2016/2017 academic session, as the tablets are not produced in the country.
He pointed out that “this is also responsible for the slight delay in distributing the equipment to the students,” disclosing that “the university management already has a firm commitment from the supplier to deliver the remaining tranche of the tablets early in the new year, for onward distribution to the students concerned.”
Describing the petitioners as “disgruntled elements and remnants of the notorious 49,” Akogun pointed out that their activities within the last one year had been targeted at disrupting the well-known uninterrupted academic calendar of the university.
He said they had tried all the tricks in the book to infiltrate the students’ body and brainwash them to take unconstitutional action against the management, pointing out that the plots have so far failed, “and this probably accounts for the resort to the long-knife tactics of crying wolf, where there is none, just to blackmail the progressive administration of the better by far university.”