Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, has effected the demotion of seven professors and the sacking of several other employees for various alleged academic-related infractions.
The leadership of the institution located in Ogbia, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s town, said those affected were sacked for lack of requisite scholarship and absconding from office.
But some of the affected lecturers have described the development as “victimisation” , which they said was based on sectional and tribal sentiments.
According to them, while the professors were demoted due to tribal sentiments, the non-teaching members of staff were allegedly fired because they are non-indigenes.
There has been no love lost among those demoted and the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Accra Jaja since he assumed office, according to sources in the varsity.
But the institution’s registrar, Mr. Iruo Yousuo, refuted the claims of tribalism levelled against the VC, noting that the actions of the federal university was fuelled by need to always stick to the rules.
In a statement in Yenagoa, Yousuo explained that the Governing Council, at its 10th meeting made key decisions involving appointments and discipline.
“Consequently, the Governing Council of the Federal University Otuoke has re-classified some academic appointments by downgrading seven teaching staff appointments to lower ranks for lack of requisite scholarship.
“Those affected are: Dr. Steve Nwabuzor, who was downgraded from the rank of Professor to Lecturer 1. Dr. Leonard K Shilgba, downgraded from the rank of Professor to Senior Lecturer, Dr. Timothy Falade Obalade, downgraded from the rank of Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer.
He added: “Dr. Felina Nwadike, was downgraded from Associate Professor to Senior Lecturer, Dr. Sepribo Lawson-Jack, was downgraded from the rank of Associate Professor to Lecturer 1, Dr. Marcellina Offoha, downgraded from the rank of Associate Professor to Lecturer 1 while Dr. Evans Eze, was downgraded from the rank of Associate Professor to Lecturer 2.
“The Council equally converted the appointments of Dr. Felina Nwadike, Dr. Timothy Falade Obalade and Dr. Sepribo Lawson-Jack to contract appointments as their tenure appointments were at variance with applicable rules.”
According to him, the Governing Council also approved the termination of appointments of six non-teaching staff on grounds of absconding .
“The affected staff members are: Mr. Obele Gabriel; Miss Modozie Rejoice Chinenye; Mr. Akpan Ufot; and Mr. Bomor Tarela; Mr. Anthony Arhogor and Miss Bassey Affiong Agbor,” the institution said.
The registrar also announced that the Governing Council has approved the appointment of two Principal Officers for the University.
“They are Prof Felicia Etim, who has been appointed as the University’s Librarian and CSP Rosalyn Biobaragha (rtd) who is now the Chief Security Officer.”