Nnaya Eziyi, Umuahia
Authorities of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), has denied sacking over 500 temporary staff of the University, saying it only declined to renew their appointments.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) and the Head, Public Relations/Protocol Unit and Spokesperson of the University, Prof Joy Nwabueze and Adanma Odefa stated this at a press conference in the University.
In a statement read by Odefa at the occasion, which was obtained by our correspondent, the university said the total number of affected staff “is over 400 and not 500 as some media have reported.”
Defending the action, the statement said it is customary for federal universities to hire staff on temporary basis and could terminate such appointments after a stipulated time frame.
It blamed the immediate past administration of the Universality for engaging the affected staff between November 2015 and February 2016, even when there was already a vice chancellor designate for the university.
The statement accused the former Vice chancellor of the University, Prof Hilary Edeoga of not taking into cognizance that there was no fund to pay the staff, ‘because these workers were never going to be his problem.’
“Worse still, the University is also burdened by several threatened lawsuits as a result of multiple awards of the same contracts to different contractors, who are still being owed by the previous administration,” it said.
Absolving the Vice Chancellor, Prof Ogbonnaya Otunta of alleged engagement of 100 staff, it added that it was totally unfounded and aimed at whipping up negative sentiments against him.
In the statement entitled “Press release on the lapsed temporary appointment of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) 400 plus”, it said Otunta had only engaged seven staff to fill arising vacancies.
“He brought three persons who are in the University on secondment meaning that they are not even staff of the University and would return back to their original place of employment once they complete their assignment,” it added.
Nwabueze and Odefa, who gave a break-down of the affected staff as follow, Academic: 100, Senior Professional Admin and Technical: 263 and Junior 77 said the University could still consider for engagement in future.
They both accused the immediate past administration of the University of alleged failure to follow due process in the engagement of both academic and non-academic staff during its tenure.