The Alumni Association of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) has queried the recent appointment of the Minister of Communications and Digital Technology, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, as a Professor of Cyber Crime.
FUTO Alumni Association National President, Engr. Ndubuisi Chijioke, disclosed this in a message to members. He said that the association has given the FUTO Governing Council seven days to respond to the 12 issues raised in its letter to the counsel.
Engr. Chijioke wrote:
“The last few days have been very embarrassing to the reputation and image of our alma mater.
“Rising from our NEC meeting on the 12th of September, 2021, it was resolved that we write to the University on the subject matter. This was promptly done and by the 15th of September, 2021, the letter from the Alumni was received by the University. There has not been any response as at yet to the letter.
“Our letter set out to give the University the opportunity to explain the circumstance of this said appointment by way of specific questions asked regarding the process leading to this appointment.
“Our locus standi to ask the questions is grounded on the facts that the Alumni body is key stakeholder in the University enterprise. More legally, the FOI Act permits the Alumni to ask for any information from a public institution or public servant regarding the operations, processes and decisions of such public institution.
“The Act is a law that requires full compliance by responsible parties and we therefore expect the University to respond to the 12 questions we have raised.
“Providing these answers to the question should form basis for our further engagement, investigation or outright determination of what transpired and what options and pathway to follow to remedy this ugly situation.
“For instance, their response will enable us determine if this was a case of individual or collective failure by the Governing Council. Was it shear negligence in their fiduciary responsibilities or a case of impunity by the Chief Executive of the University.
“The University’s *reasonable* response will enable the Alumni determine how to approach or progress further action.
“The FOI Act specifically requires the public institution to respond within 7 days to any request made to it. By the 22nd, it will be exactly 7 days after the University received our request. Failing to provide a *reasonable* response by the 22nd can only mean 3 things; 1) it has failed the first test on accountability and transparency. 2) it has defied an extant law requiring it to avail such information on request. 3) it sadly has something to hide about this action that has attracted general public opprobrium.
“In the unfortunate circumstance that the Alumni does not receive a response by the said date after having given the University Management the opportunity to clarify herself, it will then be appropriate to draw inference from the information available to the Alumni and then take further action.
“Further action could include a public statement updating the Alumni community on the actions so far and the no-response from the University. It will also include further action to compel the University to provide the records and proceedings leading to this decision.
“The FOI Act provides guidance on how to proceed when faced with recalcitrant public institutions or public servants. We have to stay the course in a justiciable pathway and not just to embark on social media commentaries that will not provide a legal framework to neutralize this decision if determined to be in gross violation of extant rules.
“Therefore, I urge us all to patiently wait for the 7 days the law has granted the University to respond. If they fail to respond, we will be acting within the law to proceed with our next further action.
“To provide more insight, our letter asked 12 germane questions requiring answers. The questions are:
1)To provide to FUTO Alumni Association National Executive Council the records of the proceedings of the University Governing Council meeting at which this appointment was made.
2) The register of the Council members in attendance at the time this appointment was approved.
3) The extant University and Nigerian University Commission’s procedure for the appointment of Professors.
4) Details of the advert for this Professorial position.
5) Details of the application(s) received for this position.
6) Details of the academic publications by Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami on which basis he was examined and offered this appointment.
7) Details of all other publications by Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
8) The resume of Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami submitted in support of his application which details his academic records and work experience in the academia.
9) The names of the examiners appointed and responsible for the assessments of Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami’s application and publications for the purpose of this appointment/promotion.
10) The resume of all the professorial examiners of Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami for the purpose of this appointment.
11) The report of the assessment by the professorial examiners of Mr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
12) Any other information, documents or records considered relevant and useful on this subject matter.
“This sad development is unacceptable and a great dent to our collective credentials. We should approach our engagement in such a way to give amble leverage to legally neutralize this ignoble action by the University.
“I hope this clarifies the Alumni position at the moment pending the dateline ahead.”