A police report has indicted former Dean, Student Affairs, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Andrew Efemini.
This follows the suspension of Efemini and 13 others by the Governing Council of the institution after they were indicted by police report over plans to incite students against the school authorities.
The Tide investigation reveals that problem began sometime in 2016 when some fee charges were made on students after online portal for fees payment had been shut down.
It was gathered that fee increment and portal shut down sparked agitation by the students, as Efemini supported the students to prevail on the school authorities to rescind their decision.
However, a student was said to have died during one of the protests in 2016, but another protest by the students during then Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s visit in July, 2017, had irked the authorities who considered the action supported by Efemini as an embarrassment.
After an investigation which followed due process and the governing council approval, The Tide learnt that the Professor of Philosophy, who had always taken sides with students’cause, was suspended, together with Enoch Fubara and 12 others.
It was learnt that the suspension was sequel to a police report which indicted them, saying that their action showed intent “to cause breach of peace.”
A senior official of the university, who confirmed the development to The Tide, explained that the closure of the school fees online portal was normal, adding, “We rent the portal, we don’t have power to keep it online indefinitely.”
The source, who does not want his name in print, added that because of pressure and pleading by students, “We have to ask the portal management to open it for two weeks, and that means we have to pay.”
The source, when asked whether Efemini was suspended by the school, affirmed, “Yes, he was suspended for three months because a report indicted him. It was not the Vice Chancellor that did so, but the school Governing Council.”
According to the official, it was not only Efemini that was suspended, “There is one professor in Fine Arts and Design that was also suspended. And he was placed on half salary, and once he is exonerated, his backlog will be paid to him.”
The source told The Tide that the suspension would have been due for lifting if not for the strike by Administrative Staff of the school.
Meanwhile, Efemini has reacted to the claim that he was inciting students, saying that the allegation was baseless.
In a telephone interview with The Tide, Wednesday, the former chairman of Academia Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), accused the school vice chancellor of manipulating the police report, insisting that he also “failed to do things rightly”.
Efemini challenged the institution’s authorities to charge him to court, if actually they were convinced that he was culpable in the alleged matter.
“They have frustrated me, but I believe I will get back to my work soon, and I would not speak on certain matters. All those claims are baseless,” he maintained.
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Author: Kevin Nengia