The Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has thrown its weight behind the union’s declaration of a professorial award from Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami as illegal.
FUTO ASUU chairman, Dr Chinedu Ihejirika, stated this while addressing newsmen in Owerri on Thursday.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Owerri (FUTO), Prof. Nnenna Oti, has said the management had gone to court over the rejection of Dr Pantami’s promotion to the rank as a professor of Cyber Security by the institution.
This followed a threat by ASUU to sanction FUTO management for approving Pantami as a professor while he is still in Federal Government’s active service as a Minister.
Ihejirika, who restated the chapter’s loyalty to the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU, said it lacked the powers to alter a decision of the national body.
Ihejirika of the Department of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology said the national body had earlier directed the FUTO chapter to carry out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Pantami’s professorial award.
He said a panel was set up to carry out the investigation, the result of which was rejected by the ASUU NEC which later sent in a fact-finding team to the University.
He however said that ASUU decided at its NEC meeting on Monday that it would not recognise Pantami’s professorship, a decision which contradicts the result of ASUU – FUTO investigations.
“At the initial stage, ASUU NEC directed ASUU FUTO to investigate the award of Professorship award given to Pantami but the result of that investigation has been overridden by that of a fact-finding team sent to the institution by ASUU NEC.
“The national body has finally decided not to recognise the award and we stand with that decision because we are not an independent arm,” he said.
FUTO had decorated Pantami with a professorial award on Cyber Security.
ASUU had in a twist of events on Monday, declared the award null and void.