760 Suspended Staff Of Michael Okpara University Of Agric, Seek Reinstatement, Payment of Arrears

employed by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Professor, Hillary Edeoga


Suspended Staff of MOUAU
                                Michael Okpara University of Agriculture,
                                19th August, 2017.

The Editor



(1).  We the illegally suspended staff of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, under the management of Professor, Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta, the Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, hereby  wish to state our case.
We were employed by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Professor, Hillary Edeoga. Consequently upon the conditions of service of the University to conduct Regularization interview at its discretion, on the 16th and 17th of February, 2016, the University invited Academic staff and Non-Teaching staff to conduct Regularization Interview/ Exercise for the current staff who is serving suspension. We were all asked to submit Thirty (30) copies of our Curriculum Vitae including our Appointment letters for the Regularization Interview/ Exercise. We all carried out the instruction of the Management and within these two (2) slated days the Regularization Interview/ Exercise was concluded.  Scores were awarded and grades given according to individual performance by the members of the University Management with the former Registrar, Dr. Azubuike. C. Nwokocha sitting as the Secretary of the Regularization Committee drafted by the University Management. (SEE APPENDIX I: ATTACHED EVIDENCE OF THE INVITATION FOR REGULARIZATION INTERVIEW DATED 11TH FEBRUARY, 2016).

(2). However, before the expiration of Professor Hillary O. Edeoga’s  tenure, we were all told that our Regularization Letters were ready and that the Registrar of the University, Dr. Azubuike .C. Nwokocha, who was still active in office would issue the letters to us at his discretion, but to our surprise the letters were withheld when the new Vice Chancellor Professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta assumed office. He tactically delayed authorization of the issuance of our Regularization Letters allowing the previous Governing Council’s tenure to expire owing to the fact that they did not endorse his plans of sacking staff that were employed by his predecessor (Professor,   Hillary O. Edeoga).


  1. in line with Federal Universities of Agriculture Act No. 48 of 1992 and subsequent amendments, Schedule 2, Statute 1 Article (15) (i), the Vice-Chancellor shall have power to make temporary appointment to Academic and Non-teaching positions for a period not exceeding twelve calendar months. Such staff shall be interviewed for regularization within the period of one year.     
      The appointment is a full time appointment and no paid work or other continuous   work with parties outside the University  may be undertake without the consent of the council previously obtained in writing.
  1. As this is a temporary appointment, it will not be pensionable unless and until it is regularized or permanent appointment is subsequently made.
  2. The temporary appointment period shall however, count towards confirmation of appointment upon pensionable appointment being made to the temporary employee.

(3). When rumours were spread in the University that Professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta was bent on disengaging all the staff employed from September, 2015 to February, 2016 by the immediate past administration, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta, quickly dispelled it on numerous occasions at University Staff Family meetings emphatically stating that some staff have been pressurizing him to disengage the aforementioned staff. His favourite quote being “I cannot and will never remove food from anyone’s table.” Subsequent to this vowed of not removing food from anyone’s table was consistent until issuance of the suspension letters. Considering condition of service on temporary appointment (ii & iii) the university commenced deduction of pension from the first month of payment of salary till we were suspended, which we are supposed to count towards confirmation. Instead suspended after a year and six months of devoted service.

(4).  On the 27th of April, 2017, we were compelled to apply within one week for renewal of our Temporary Appointment Letters through the heads of our department, demanding recommendation with cogent reasons for renewal of temporary appointment and on the strength of his consistent promise, we complied hoping to get our Regularization Letters as soon as possible. Much to our surprise, on the 4th of July, 2017, the governing council ordered the issuance to all the concerned staff with suspension letters on grounds that our appointment has elapsed. Little did we know that his promises were disguised to allow the tenure of the Governing Council that brought us all in including himself, wife and some other staff to elapse before he unveiled his evil intention.

(5). The New University Governing Council is either conversant with the University conditions of service or simply not aware of the present uproar in the University as they allowed themselves vulnerable while being approached by a faction of Academic and Non – Academic staff led by Prof. M. O. Iwe, Prof. V. E. Osodeke, Dr. C. C. Ononuju and Dr. U. A. U. Onyebinamma, who disguised under Unions that were secretly organized by the Vice – Chancellor travelled to Sokoto to meet with the University Governing Council Chairman, Rt. Hon. Lawal M. Zayyana, feeding  him with false information about the employment of the staff that is currently on illegal suspension so that they could sack and bring in their relatives and friends to occupy their spaces.  I must tell you that as we write you now, employment is on going to fill in the gaps that our suspension created.  

We the suspended staff have already served over a year and six months (over 18 months) with verifiable good conduct and performances from our various Heads of Departments/ Units in the University. The suspended staff, numbering about four hundred and sixty (460) of which majority are lgbo youths, are either bread winners in our respective families, have dependent children and or relatives and extended families who are looking up to us for financial support and a whole lot more. Some of us even had to resign from our previous places of employment to take these jobs to serve our nation in this capacity.

  1. If it appears to the council that are reasons for believing that any staff employed as a member of the academic , administrative or professional staff of university, other than Vice-Chancellor, should be removed from his /her office or employment of misconduct or inability to perform the functions of his/her office or employment, the council shall:

  1. Give notice of those reasons to the staff in question.

  1. Afford the staff an opportunity of making representation in person on the matter; before a staff investigation panel.

  1. Appoint a staff disciplinary committee and if the council, after considering the report of the staff disciplinary committee, is satisfied that the  in question should be remove as aforesaid, the council may so remove him by an instrument in writing signed on the directive of the council.

(6). on this suspension, there was no form of pre – information or notice whatsoever given to justify this inhumane act. Rather the issuance of the suspension of Temporary Appointment was dispatched and handed over to us on the 4th of July, 2017 with a reference on paragraph 4 of the Suspension Letter stating as follows:  
“You are by this letter directed to handover all official documents in your possession to your Head of Department/ Head of Unit and cease to perform any official duty in the University accordingly, until the Appointments and Promotions Committee (A&PC) concludes the verification of the application you had earlier submitted for the renewal/ reconsideration/ regularization or eventual termination of your appointment”.

A copy of the suspension letter can be found as attached in APPENDIX IV: SUSPENSION OF TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT.

we would like to bring to your notice that these suspended staff have been captured already in the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state’s comprehensive Academic and Non – Teaching staff list as at June, 2016 (NOMINAL ROLL) and also, these staff have been captured in the 2017/ 2018 budget defended by our amiable Vice – Chancellor, Professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta . In addition to this, it is worthy to note that, all the staff employed by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Professor Hillary O. Edeoga, were all appraised in 2016/ 2017 on annual increment by our different Heads of Departments/ Units under the administration of the current Vice – Chancellor.

(7).  It is very worrisome and important to note that since the 1st of March, 2016, Professor Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta has employed over a hundred (100) staff with “Temporary  Appointment Letter”. These above mentioned set of individuals are untouched; hence they are still in their jobs. These can be verifiable and is seen as attached in APPENDIX V: EMPLOYMENT BY THE CURRENT VICE CHANCELLOR SINCE ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE.

Let us recall that, CONDITIONS OF SERVICES FOR SENIOR STAFF stated that:
  1. The Temporary Appointment to Academic and Non-teaching positions for a period of not exceeding 12 calendar months. Such staff shall be interviewed for regularization within the period of one year. (The interview was conclusive but MOUAU Management which the Vice-Chancellor is Chairman denied us the letter).
  2. The period of Temporary Appointment shall not be pensionable unit a Permanent Appointment is subsequently made. (Starting from the first day till date MOUAU Management which the Vice-Chancellor is Chairman has been deducting pension from our salary till date no credit alert in our pension account).
  3. The Temporary Appointment period shall however, count toward confirmation of Appointment upon pensionable Appointment being made to the Temporary employee. (Which all the suspended staff has not less than 5 or 6 to their Confirmation in MOUAU).

One of the objectives of creating any institution is to expand and improve man power which we strongly believe that this University can follow suit, so as to meet up the promised agenda of the present government which entails reduction of unemployment and eradication of extreme poverty in our land. For sure, as humans, we are bruised that in a system where we are all qualified to work as colleagues, some people are treated as ‘Sacred Cows’ whereas others treated as ‘Second Class Citizens.’ It is indeed painful that Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state, has the capacity to accommodate every staff and even more if the present Management exploits the opportunities therein in as much as Agriculture is concerned. In this present economic hardship that is scourging very hard on every person, some of the suspended staff resigned from their various place of work and accepted offer to work in the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state. What will be our fate, given our Vice – Chancellor’s decision? To this regard, we tend to quote the words of the current Vice Chancellor as can be found in APPENDIX VI: THE INAUGURAL ADDRESS PRESENTED TO THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY, PAGE 4, PARAGRAPH 3, BY FRANCIS OGBONNAYA OTUNTA DATED 1st MARCH, 2016 “My administration's intention is to exceed the horizon of existing academic programmes, coupled with the ever skyrocketing demand for the acquisition of tertiary education, and mostly the nation’s recent focus on agribusiness as an alternative revenue based of the economy, the students’ population is bound to explode. Also from the diminutive core members of staff that leant immense support of the then Vice – Chancellor in his pionerring efforts of laying a formidable foundation for the Institution, the University now has a staff strength of Three Thousand and Eighty Two (3, 082) as at February 29, 2016. This is made up Two Thousand, One Hundred and Eighty Four Thousand (2,184) non – teaching staff and a teaching staff with about Eight (80) Professors standing at Eight Hundred and Nineteen (819).

(9). As we the suspended staff write this petition with heavy hearts, and tears rolling down our cheeks, our parents, siblings and relatives who are normally assisted in one way or the other will be affected.
We strongly know and believe this is not the kind of agenda you and the present Government prepared for us and our people. All this while, we have seen your positive effort on how to create employments for the youths through entrepreneurial scheme and other openings. All we ask is the recall of all Suspended staff and the release of our Regularization letter to us and call back unconditionally. We thereby request that all suspended staff be called back to our various Units and Departments in the University without any form of competitive interview which the management wants to use in disguise to terminate our appointment.

kindly look into our condition and see how you can use your good office to intervene and save the lives of our families, children and our unborn children. We rely strongly in you and your positive agenda for your people. We wait in anticipation of you positive response.

(10). Please see attached documents as evidence to our claims and complaints.  

Thank you.

On behalf of the Suspended Staff of Michael Okpara University Of Agriculture, Umudike.
19/ 08/ 2017

cc: The Presidency
    The Acting President
    Senate President
    Deputy Senate President
    Hon. Speaker, House of Representative
    Chairman Senate Committee on Education
    Chairman House Committee on Education
    Senator, Abia Central
    Federal House member, Ikwuano/Umuahia
    Hon. Minister of Education
    Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment
    Director, Tertiary Institution Federal Ministry of Education
    National Chairman, APC
    The Executive Governor, Abia State
    Hon. Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly
    National President, Nigeria Labour Congress.
      The Pro-chancellor,  Rt. Hon Lawal M. Zayyana.
    The Vice-Chancellor, MOUAU (Prof. Francis O. Otunta)
    Former Vice-Chancellor, MOUAU (Prof. Hillary O. Edeoga)
    Former Pro -Chancellor (Prof. Anya O. Anya)


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