The management of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, has accused the immediate past administration of the institution of alleged employment scandal.
The allegation was made against the background of the recent sacking of over 400 temporary staff of the university engaged by the previous administration of the former vice chancellor, Prof. Hilary Edeoga.
MOUAU is grappling with bloated staff strength
The Head, Public Relations/Protocol Unit and Spokesperson of the university, Adanma Odefa, said while reacting to media reports about the development that the affected staff were employed between November 2015 and 2016, respectively, when a new vice chancellor had been appointed for the university and funds had yet to be allocated for the payment of the newly employed workers’ salaries.
Odefa explained that the sacked workers, including 100 lecturers, 263 Senior Professional Administration and Technical staff and 77 junior staff, could be re-engaged if the need for them arose in future.
Denying that the affected staff had been sacked as reported in the media, she explained that by their condition of service, the management reserved the right to either confirm or terminate such appointments at will.
Odefa, who explained that such appointments would usually only last for one, added the retention of the workers cost the rest of the staff of the university 25 per cent of their salaries in the past few months.
“Everybody employed in a Federal University is hired on temporary basis and has to undergo what’s called regularisation within a year (before becoming full time), failure of which leads to the elapsing of the contract,” she said.
The MOUAU spokesperson added that if the university had any need for that number of staff constituting over 12 per cent of the entire staff strength, the positions should have been advertised with the Governing Council’s approval.
“What the university ended up with, as a result, was a bloated staff. For example, the ICT laboratory, which can be manned by four people, ended up with a staff of over 25,” she said.
Odefa also accused the past administration of allegedly burdening the university with several lawsuits as a result of the multiple awards of contracts to different contractors, who it still owed.
The MOUAU spokesperson further denied reports that the Vice Chancellor, Prof Ogbonnaya Otunta, had engaged about 100 people in the university,
describing the report as totally unfounded.