Varsity denies sacking workers, confirms terminating their contract appointments
Management of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Umuahia has said that it did not sack 440 of its workers last month as it was being insinuated in certain quarters.
It, however, stated that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Francis Otunta, only voided the inherited 100 academic, 263 senior professional administrative and technical cadre, as well as 77 junior staff, who were engaged on a temporary contract agreement when he assumed duties about 16 months ago.
Spokesperson of the University, Adanma Odefa, said the institution terminated their Temporary Contract Appointments (TCA) last month as approved by the university’s governing council despite the fact that the appointments elapsed since February.
Odefa, who described the allegation of malicious dismissal of the affected staff as “obfuscated facts and distorted reality, solely aimed at whipping raw emotions and assassinating innocent people’s characters,” decried the false reports by some media organisations.
“Everybody employed in the Federal University was hired on a temporary basis and have to undergo what is called regularisation within a year (before becoming full time) failure of which leads to the elapsing of the contract,” she said.
She added that the university had no need for that number staff that constituted over 12 per cent of the workforce, saying that the university was saddled with a high number of unqualified and redundant staff through their employment.
Odefa exonerated the Vice Chancellor who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Joy Nwabueze at the press conference, saying, “The university had been negotiating, advocating and bending over backwards to avoid the unfortunate outcome we have today.
“It was at his discretion to honour the terms of the temporary appointments that had lapsed but on humanitarian grounds, he decided to bear the burden pending council’s decision.”
His decision, she said, cost the other university staff 25 per cent of their salary for the past few months adding that ordinarily, “the 400 plus staff had no entitlement to salaries from the university from the date their one year temporary appointment contracts lapsed and the university had no commitment to offer them a chance or renew their contract.”
When contacted on the issue, the immediate past Vice Chancellor, Prof. Hilary Edeoga, under whose tenure the workers were engaged, said that the workers salaries were accommodated in the extant budget.