Friday, 22 March 2013

RSUST Crisis: Civil Society Wades In, Issues 7 Days Ultimatum to Gov. Amaechi to Remove Fakae as VC

Prof. Fakae
By Friday Agi

Worried by the lingering crisis at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), and the possible consequences on the educational advancement of the state, a coalition of civil society organisation in the state led by the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), has handed down seven days ultimatum to the visitor of the institution and Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi, to reverse and withdraw the purported reappointment of Prof. Barineme Fakae as Vice Chancellor of the institution, or face court action and a nation-wide action.

In a statement issued in Port Harcourt and signed by the Director of Research and Publicity of the CLO, Rivers State branch, Livingstone Wechie, the coalition described as unfortunate, what it called the fraudulent appointment of Professor Fakae to monopolise and colonise the institution without allowing the legal procedures to apply.

According to them, the appointment also contravenes the enabling laws establishing the university and the applicable rules binding Nigerian universities on the appointment and tenure of vice chancellors.
The coalition expressed worry that the university has lost its credibility owing to the ongoing crisis fueled by the continued stay of Fakae as the vice chancellor of the university.
In the spirit of public interest, the coalition believes, as a civil society group, that injustice in the circumstance is a threat to justice everywhere.

They maintained that it had had audience with Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), RSUST Chapter over the matter and every relevant document made available to them.

It regretted that efforts to get Fakae to speak for himself have been frustrated, as Prof. Fakae failed to honour a letter of audience sent to him by the coalition.

The body alleged that Fakae’s prolonged silence on the matter meant that he may have consented to the allegations leveled against him.

The CLO statement read in part:
“It is our position that the institution is a public one run with tax payer’s money, and so its running must be consistent with public interest and the law.
The visitor has personalised the university as though it were a private business. We condemn this action of the visitor and deem same as unacceptable as he has failed to remove politics from the running of the institution, i.e politics from education.”

The coalition unequivocally stated that only justice can restore confidence and the lost glory of the institution.
While declaring its solidarity and support for ASUU, as injury to one is injury to all, the coalition urged ASUU National to down-tools nationwide until their demands for the removal of the RSUST VC is effected.

“Hence, we have mobilised our legal team to prepare and commence litigation proceedings against the visitor and the illegal Vice Chancellor, should he fail to rescind the illegal appointment of the Vice Chancellor,” the statement concluded.

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