Book makers, who christened Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu a haven of corruption, may have a new story to tell as the Rector, Professor Augustine Nweze’s led administration is working to change the perception. RAPHAEL EDE writes.
When the Rector, Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, Prof. Augustine Uchenna Nweze, took over in June 2016, many thought that he was walking into a beehive of corruption where anything could go. From sale of unapproved textbooks, hand outs to leaking of question papers as well as awarding of undeserved marks to students, the stench of corruption was so much that departmental heads, lecturers could off er admission to students without recourse to the school management.
Playing truancy Corruption at IMT was so pronounced that a student who never got admission into the institution could be mobilised for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). In short, some staff and students have boasted that they could give out certifi cates to anybody they so wish and nothing would happen. Lecturers coming to class at will and sexual harassment of female students and staff were riff ed in the institution and of course, student union behave like lords without control or with little control by the school authorities.
That was the situation and more when Nweze stepped into that citadel of learning. At the time of this report, Nweze, a seasoned academic, seemed to be equal to the task and has sworn to deal decisively with the situation by punishing those that would run foul to the rules and regulation guiding the institution.
The stance to reduce criminality When he mounted the rostrum as the helmsman of IMT, he decided to forgive those that had already compromised their positions in the institution, but not without warning that such misdemeanor would not be tolerated again under his watch. On August 17, 2017, the Rector called a retreat of all the management heads as well as the academic heads to brief them on how the school should be run from then hence. At the retreat that took place at the school’s auditorium, he hinted to the staff and lecturers that the days of impunity were over. In short, he dinned it into them that any of them caught in any of such infraction would be summarily dismissed with a wave of hand.
Th e Rector made it clear that he was not ready to fi ght because he was not a man of fi ght, but would not leave anybody in doubt that if any of them slips, he would show the person that he could bite harder than a cobra. He hinted that he could actually bite because lecturers who did not turn in their semester examination results have had their salaries withheld and they have been raising hue and cry over the salary seizure, but Nweze seems to have turned a deaf ear to importunity and pleas that the salaries be paid to those aff ected. To drive home the seriousness of the crime of not turning in results in time, Nweze had this to tell the staff at the retreat.
“Th e worst crime in IMT is to leak question paper before any examination. Th e staff will be dismissed with ignominy. Paper leakages will not happen again under my watch. “Going forward, any form of leakage, the person will be dismissed with ignominy. You have to submit your result within one month.
We will withhold your salary if you don’t submit your result on time. We have thus saved about N10, 000,000 from salaries seized from lecturers for not submitting their semester result on time. Penalties for off enders Nweze also hinted that selling of handouts is outlawed in the institution. He noted that a list of those that sold illegal handouts have been made known after the committee he set up to that eff ect turned in their report.
“If you know that you have collected money from students without giving them the books, refund the money or face disciplinary action. We are giving yellow cards now. If you get two yellow cards, you are sent out of the school. Th e Rector disclosed why he was so particular about stamping out crimes of any kind in IMT. According to him, he has now become a regular visitor to the EFCC over corruption and fraud allegedly committed in the institution. “I have been to EFCC nine times, but ESUT Vice Chancellor has never been invited,” he lamented, and pointed out that enough was enough of the nonsense.
He hinted that no more will any of the lecturers sell books directly to the students but through the school’s books shops, and of course, the books to be sold in the school’s bookshops must be those approved by the school management. He left no stone unturned while addressing the staff and pointing out staff must be dedicated to their duties so that they would move the institution forward. Indictment on lecturers However, it was gathered that in spite of the outburst of the Rector, corruption has not been stamped out completely from the institution because those who were asked to refund the monies extorted from the students are yet to refund them and the Rector seemed not to have done anything about it.
Virtually, in all the departments, one lecturer or the other has been indicted in the committee set up to fi nd out those that sold unapproved textbooks and other academic materials by the Rector. While some heed the Rector’s directive after the fi ndings of the committee to refund the unapproved monies, some lecturers, who probably think that it is business as usual or have godfathers in government are yet to refund their own monies to the students running into over N10 million.
Th e committee deftly tabulated the aff ected lecturers who indulged in the sale of unapproved Nwezeand handouts and those that sold books beyond the prices the school authorities approved. Up till the time of fi ling this report, it has also been gathered, some lecturers are seething that the Rector seems to be partial in handling the issue of corruption in the institution because whereas he forgave all that erred and sued that a new leaf be turned, he allegedly axed two lecturers, Dr. Godsmark Ugwu of the Department of Public Administration and Larry Ikpeama for alleged leakages of examination papers. Nweze was in the business of forgiving sins, he should as well have forgiven the duo for examination malpractice. Even at the retreat, it was equally gathered that some staff pleaded that those whose salaries were seized for late submission of examination results, should also be forgiven in the interest of peace and justice especially since those indicted that have not refunded their monies have not been punished. The memos, the threats
However, investigation has shown that the Rector would not bulge because he has boasted that, “we have started by withholding salaries. I don’t want to change. Let us remain friends,” he declares. Meanwhile, some lecturers have started threatening the chairman, Committee on Sale of Unapproved Textbooks and Other Academic Materials, Off oh Basil.
An internal memo to the Rector, by Off oh dated 17th August, 2017 with ref. No. IMT/LS/019 our correspondent obtained titled ‘Re: Rector’s retreat with the academic staff held on Th ursday 17 August 2017 – threat from Barr. Tony Onyia of legal studies department to recover from me the sum N68,000.00 which he voluntarily released for refund to the ND 11 students of Public Administration through his course representative Onyekachi Eze’. Off oh stated that shortly after the conclusion of the said Rector’s retreat and precisely at 4.30pm, I received a shocking call from Barr. Onyia in which he threatened to recover from me the sum N68,000.00 which he had refunded the students through his course representative.
Th e ground for his clear threat to recover the said money from me “was that the Rector had during the said retreat forgiven everybody who had collected monies from students for unapproved textbooks and unapproved handouts’. The committee chairman appealed to the Rector to clarify the content and scope of his express statement of forgiveness of the academic staff who are indicted in the conclusive interim fi ndings of the committee on the sale of unapproved textbooks and other academic materials.
Investigations our undercover reporter revealed that some lecturers like; Patruh Amalu teaching Ecology STB 222, collected N1,070,000 f r o m N 1 0 0 0 s t u d e n t s f o r undisclosed textbook either has he refunded the money to the students up till the time of fi ling this report. Another lecturer, Mr. Ene Chukwuka lecturing STB 222 – Ecology collected N1,018,000 for undisclosed textbooks from over 1000 ND students of Science Lab Technology and the said book was not provided to the students for just concluded semester.
Over 25 other lecturers indicted for selling of unapproved textbooks, handout and extortion of money from students for grade amounts to over N8.5million which were yet to be refunded to the students according to the committees directive. Investigation revealed that one Miss. Ede Onyinye Lilian with Reg. No. IMT/MKT/ H2012/102; mobilisation No. IMT/2016/430823 and NYSC Call Up No. LA/16B/1454 who allegedly graduated from IMT, but could not explain the acronym, IMT, when she went for NYSC, was cleared and mobilised by the Director Students Aff airs, Dr. T. E. Ayogu. Investigative committee However, to compromise the investigation of police the Rector Prof. Nweze on 17th August, 2017 setup a committee to investigate the alleged mobilization of Miss Ede Onyinye Lilian with Mr. Vincent O. Egbo (Deputy Rector) as Chairman, the Director of Students Aff airs (DSA), Dr. T. E. Ayogu who allegedly mobilized Miss Onyinye for NYSC and four others as members.
Notwithstanding that Egbo was few weeks ago indicted by Dr. Sculpter Okey Ikenegbu committee which investigated forgery of composite result sheet with which students were mobilized for NYSC in the school of Business Studies from 2013 – 2015, the Rector further made him chairman of NYSC mobilisation committee.
Th e deputy rector was on 28th December, 2008 indicted for result forgery in respect of IMT/BAM/42006/02556 and he was recommended for suspension for 12 months and non-assignment of any responsible position. Th e Rector also on 21st August, 2017 setup another committee on verifi cation of NYSC mobilization from 2014 to date with Mr. Jude Ani – Marketing Dept. as Chairman meanwhile, he was also the HOD Marketing when Ede Onyinye Lilian was mobilized. He was indicted in several reports for forgery of students’ results with respect to NYSC mobilisation.