10 October 2011, Sweetcrude, WARRI- OIL producing communities in Delta State under the aegis of the Oil Mineral Producing Stakeholders Forum, OMPSTAFOR, has called for urgent disbanding and reconstitution of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State by the Federal Government.
OMPSTAFOR in a letter, dated September 18, addressed to the Minister of Education, signed by its national coordinator and former national secretary of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, Prince Maikpobi Okareme, said the council as presently constituted was a bane to the growth of the university.
According to the letter, “While other Governing Councils are sourcing for funds for the development of their various universities, FUPRE’s Governing Council members are only interested in awarding themselves contracts. Our investigations reveal that contracts for construction of buildings were hijacked by council members who run such projects in the form of direct labour in the sense that each time the contractors finish using the money paid to them by the university, they move out of site claiming that their principals (Governing Council members) do not have money to continue…”
The stakeholders also accused the council of suspending the registrar of the university without an opportunity of fair hearing and setting up of a kangaroo panel to investigate her; antagonizing the bursar on flimsy and unfounded allegation that bother on routine procedures, such as cash advances to staff, payment of DTA to drivers and deduction from staff salaries with a view to collecting unnecessary sitting allowances.
The group also slammed the council for interfering with the day to day running of the university, thereby encouraging indiscipline in the system and creating factions among staff, threatening to t to remove the vice chancellor, who despite the initial teething challenges, ensured the take off of the university with the admission 51 students whose graduation is now under threat because of lack of accreditation due to ineffective Governing Council.
Other reasons advanced for the dissolution was that the council usurped the normal powers of the Senate of the University by refusing to allow Senate members to sit in council, “but instead handpicked two professors , who are willing tools to replace them and even made one of them to act as deputy vice chancellor without regard to the agreement reached between the ministry and the stakeholders on 21st August , 2007 in Abuja with the current National Universities Commission, NUC, executive secretary in attendance”.
“Conclusively, now that it is obvious that the council is more interested in pursuing with vigour nefarious activities with a view to pave way to replace the current principal officers with their cronies so as to have unrestricted access to the meager university funds and also have free reign to hijack building contracts, the honourable minister should please dissolve the governing council and recall the registrar to complete her fixed tenure”, the group added.
In constituting a new governing council , emphasis should be placed on people from the actual oil producing communities in the core Niger Delta who feel the pain of the current avoidable underdevelopment of the region”, it emphasized.