I have had a few people send me insulting e-mails since I made this report on Unizik’s VC Professor Boniface Egboka being investigated by EFCC for fraud, misappropriation of funds amongst other things (READ POST HERE)
What I’m about to post below is a a message I was sent by someone who identified himself simply as Ifeanyi, but went on to speak on behalf of the staff of Unizik. Beyond the person’s e-mail address, which I can’t reasonably publish, there isn’t anything I know of said person, and I can’t attest to the veracity of his assertions, but even though its all pro-Boniface-Egboka (whom I neither know nor hold any grudge against)he also admits that there is indeed an investigation on Unizik’s VC by EFCC. However, knocking off all the allegations with assertions of his own:
NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, PROF. BONIFACE EGBOKA AND THE FUTURE
The attention of concerned staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University has been drawn to an internet posting by a little known source which calls itself International Center for Investigative Reporting (www.icirnigeria.org). The posting which has been widely shared on the net contained a lot of lies and half truths which we suspect were intended to hurt our University’s image and rubbish the massive efforts and successes we have achieved in the last couple of years especially since Prof. Boniface Egboka became Vice-Chancellor. We are therefore to answer to the various allegations against our University and the active Vice-Chancellor Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka.
1.It is well-known within and around the University community that there are some reactionary people, still working as staff or who are retired, that want to remote-control the active Vice-Chancellor of this great University to do their evil-intentioned demonic and pecuniary biddings: they believe that the Vice-Chancellor must stop his method of governance of goodwill and the rule of truth/law; he must stop his avowed insistence of a Students-first Philosophy of governance whereby problems and welfare of students are given the highest priority treatment; the VC must be maligned/blackmailed for solving the problems of overstayed students who were driven away from the University just like that to roam about wild in the streets; the VC must misuse funds to wet their financial appetites; he must dole out injustice to staff and students to maintain the status quo ante bellum; he must allow the injustices of the past on staff and students to remain; he must be punished for legally- and justifiably-recalling maltreated staff and students who were unjustly-expelled or suspended from the University; he must take excuses from such demons-incarnate before he made/makes any progressive moves of development in running the University; he must be stopped from his present massive achievements on the ground that can be seen by anyone who visits the University today; the present Vice-Chancellor must be well-intimidated to play dumb for vampires to incapacitate the system etc. Professor Boniface Egboka, the Owelle of Umuchu has said NO to all these sheghanigans!
2.A faceless group that calls itself concerned staff of Nnamdi Azikiwe University wrote an unsigned petition to the EFCC alleging several wrongdoings which are currently under investigation by the EFCC that must be allowed to do its work. The allegations are heavily-false and largely unfounded. We acknowledge that the University is a public Institution, which can be investigated if there is need for such. Therefore, the University recognizes the fact that the EFCC is carrying out its statutory duties under the law and there are also other organisations and individuals who are currently being investigated by the EFCC. That a petition is being investigated by the EFCC does not confer a verdict of guilt on those being investigated. Therefore the case of UNIZIK is peculiar in view of the actions of a misguided few whose selfish interests are the major driving force for these petitions.
3.The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka, did not order for the vehicles (two 2011 Toyota 4 Runner Jeeps worth N27m) as alleged. They are not used or refurbished vehicles as petitioned; they are new 2011 models. The truth is that due to the need to acquire some vehicles for the University, three companies’ submitted bids and finally Grech Resources Ltd. was authorized to supply the vehicles. Prof. Egboka never made any deposit for the vehicles as alleged. The normal process of doing business in a public institution was fully-met.
4.It is an insult on the University to write that the Vice-Chancellor without due process and against regulations, selectively awarded contracts or just merely invited whosoever he wanted. This notion is totally wrong. The University is properly staffed by competent officers who do not in any circumstance circumvent the due process or the regulations. The fact is that these petitioners have ulterior selfish motives which they placed above UNIZIK community interests. Their former contractor mentors and sponsors may not have had their ways of perfidy to ‘share out’ in their usual manner and, hence, their angst.
5.In the case of Porras and Oliva, this properly-registered company whose one of the Directors is an alumnus of this great University, competitively bided for and won the contract for the renovation of the University Auditorium at a little over N20M. The scope of the work was to be later reviewed by the Physical Planning Unit and approved by the appropriate authority with the introduction of the following changes as the work went on and when it was imperative to do so, namely:
(a) Ventrified floor tiles;
(b) Suspended ceiling;
(c) Package air conditioners;
(d) Burglary proofing;
(e) External works with interlocking tiles;
(f) Rear entrance staircase; and
(g) Customized auditorium seats.
Because of these additional works, our external consultants worked out the cost which corresponded with the University’s internal costing mechanism, hence, the upward review and the said variation. All contracts awarded to Porras and Oliva followed due processes.
6.Regibel, an active construction Company that is executing projects in parts of this country and whose one of the young Directors is an alumnus of this University, was mentioned as being awarded contracts without proper tendering. This allegation is baseless and false. Quotations for the construction of Senator Dr. Joy Emodi Road were received from three companies as follows:
(1) Regibel Ltd. – N78,450,062.32
(2) Cotabs Engineering Ltd. – N86,532,041.08
(3) Adama Benjo Nig Ltd. – N84, 532, 041.08
Based on the above, Messrs. Regibel Ltd. had the least and most responsive tender and the Procurement Planning Committee recommended the award of the contract to the firm at the quoted sum N78,450,062.32.
The evil detractors of Professor Egboka would prefer the old contractors rather than younger and new ones, some of whom may be alumni/alumnae of the University who do in addition, offer some free services to their alma mater.
Equally three firms submitted bids for the construction of walkway within the school premises. They are as follows:
(a) Cotabs Engineering Ltd. – N130,672,968.75
(b) Adama Banjo Ltd. – N138,651,271.88
(c) Regibel Ltd. – N122,144,500.85
The Procurement Planning Committee recommended the award of the contract to Regibel at the quoted sum of N122,144,500.88. This was approved by the University’s Tenders Board. So the allegation that there was no tender process, agreement or any document is totally false and a calculated attempt to ridicule the University Administration.
7.There have been cases of collapsing of buildings in this University because of poor foundational structure. Four of such buildings were rehabilitated and recovered by the present Administration that carried out a detailed Hydrological/Hydrogeological/Geophysical/Pedological Surveys of the University environment to find out why earlier constructed buildings were cracking helplessly and collapsing! This Administration has ensured that no civil works/buildings are to be built, now, in the University without proper civil/structural foundation including those structures that were started before the studies as given below.
8.The University Administration was also accused of unilateral variations in contract costs and again this is not true. The Faculty of Arts building was awarded initially but had to be reviewed upwards because of changes in the structural foundation and scope of the work in order to prevent possible-eventual failure in the future. Also it must be stated that the variation cost was as a result of fluctuations and increases in the prices of materials from the inception of the project to date. The assessments were first carried out independently by an external consultant and secondly by the Physical Planning Unit of the University before arriving at that amount due to the contractor. Therefore the allegation that officialsof the University Administration siphoned the variation costs is not true in its entirety. Again this is the figment of imagination of these evil-minded petitioners.
9.Currently over 80 percent of UNIZIK student population live outside the University due to shortage of accommodation on campus. The University is currently developing hostel complex inside the University in partnership with Elmada Consulting Inc. (a Canadian Company). The Vice-Chancellor’s Son-in-law is the representative of Elmada in Nigeria. Already the first phase of the hostel project has been completed and commissioned by the Hon. Minister of Education who praised the University Administration for achieving the feat. Understandably and as a result of the success of the UNIZIK hostel project, some other universities have visited the University to see such a successful experience in a BOT/PPP hostel project andare, now also, in partnership with Elmada for similar projects in their universities. The partnership agreement was scrutinized and approved by the University Governing Council. No wrong doing is involved in this project.
10.The bone of contention is that Prof. Boniface Egboka is clearly outworking outperforming some of the past leaders of the University who are not happy that their much talked-about high achievements are gradually being eclipsed and they are growing restless and reactionary by the day.
11. The Faculties of Biosciences and Physical Sciences were intended to be built through the Development Levy paid by students (Internally Generated Revenue). The contract was initially awarded to Messrs Bechtel Nig. Ltd. Based on the earlier good performance of this contractor in the successful completion of the gigantic Faculty of Law building, the University administration awarded this contract to the company based on its track record. Based on a petition by the faceless group to the Bureau of Public Procurement, the University was advised to initiate a fresh process. The University has since advertised the job which signaled the commencement of fresh bidding process. The University is grateful to the BPP for the advice which the University has accepted and is implementing, due largely to inter-agency cooperation in the interest of our people.
12.It must be emphasized that the due process of handling funds generated from the Development Levy from students were followed by the earlier Administration that handed over to Professor Egboka’s in the building of all projects at the Science Village, the gigantic Aghagbo Nwakor Library, the Faculty of Law and the present ongoing Faculty of Arts etc. For some reasons best known to these website-hacker-petitioners, they left out these many buildings and mentioned only the ones now being handled by the present Administration. Their missions are obvious: to distract, malign, blackmail and impugn an innocent man’s integrity but unfortunately for them, the reading public is wise!
13.Dr. Mrs. Chioma Emelumadu (nee Egboka) and Ms. Nkechi Egboka are fellow Nigerians who are well-qualified and were employed like others. It is saddening to note that the petitioners have concocted some falsehood over this for their selfish reasons. The University records can show that they are qualified and they were employed just as others. Dr. Chioma Emelumadu was employed as a medical officer with the Medical Centre and not as Medical Director as the merchants of falsehood insinuated. Also the other daughter has BSc. 2nd Class Hons. Degree Upper Division from this University and a Masters degree from the University of Aberdeen in Petroleum Geosciences in 2006 and 2010 respectively and was working in Total-elf “an Oil Company” at PortHarcourt before she was interviewed and subsequently appointed as Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Geological Sciences and Sub-Department of Applied Geophysics. Incidentally some of these petitioners also have close family members who are working in the University. Why the Vice-Chancellor’s case has found the headlines is this same pull-him-down syndrome.
14.Mrs. Uchenna Okeke is the wife of Ven. Prof. Ben Chuks Okeke the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration). She has a first degree in Business Administration (Cooperative), Second Class Hons. Upper division, Masters’ degree in Management and presently a PhD student. The complication in her appointment started when the Registry omitted including her first degree in her papers as submitted to it. This flaw was later corrected and she was appointed as Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Cooperative Economics and Management. Ever since her appointment, she has been discharging her duties satisfactorily.
15.Engr. Godwin Orji has a Masters degree in Polymer Science from the United Kingdom. He was to be employed as Technologist but when it was discovered that he had a Masters degree, he was interviewed and appointed as an Assistant Lecturer in Polymer Science. The sad story, however, is that two months after assuming this position, he passed away. So for, now, Engr. Orji is no more with us but we plead with these petitioners to allow the dead have an eternal rest. May the gentle soul of Engr. Orji and the Faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
16.At no time did the University employ any six Consultants in the University Medical Centre. These are senior Consultants who are lecturers in the University Medical School at Nnewi and Consultants at the Teaching Hospital Nnewi. The University Administration approached them to assist the University Medical Centre free of charge with their expertise once a week. Since they are already staff of the University, they would render their consulting services free. They agreed to work free in the interest of the University staff and students. For anyone to now say that they were employed and paid salary is mischief and a major dis-service to this University and humanity.
17.A Deputy-Director of the University Medical Centre who ignorantly thought that the helpful Consultants would be paid salaries and that they were placed to displace him accused the Administration falsely. He is not a Professor as falsely-stated by the avid petitioners. He was posted to Nnewi as routine tour of duty and not punitive as the petitioners falsely-painted.
18.We reiterate that these petitioners are only interested in stalling development in the University. In the last few years, the University has continued to witness enormous growth. For instance all previous efforts to solve the problem of water in the University in the last 30 years had failed; the University was served with water supplied by few water tankers from Oji River about 35kms away until Prof. Egboka became Vice-Chancellor. He deployed his world-acclaimed skill as a Professor of Environmental Hydrogeology and hit artesian aquifer within the University lands with water gushing out eternally to the ground surface and which is currently being reticulated across the University. This means a good bye to the water tankers which the University had depended upon for water supplies of doubtful quality for over thirty years.
19.It must be stated to the world that our University under Prof. Egboka has recorded tremendous successes for the University in various ways as may be summarized thus:
•Just recently our University has passed the 2011 Institutional Accreditation by the NUC with at a Grade A Level that will last her for the next five years;
•Under Prof. Egboka, the University is the second most highly-sought after by candidates who seek admission with over 82,000. This shows the level of acceptability by parents, guardians, stakeholders and the candidates;
•Successful graduation and induction of the first set of graduates of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences within their five years of existence;
•Take off of the Faculty of Agriculture;
•Linkages and collaborations with Universities across the world for exchange of staff and students; and
•many other achievements too numerous to mention here such as infrastructural development, road network, construction of ramps in all buildings to enable the disabled move conveniently about, rehabilitation of hostels etc. that may be found in the University website.
20.Finally, the administration of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Boniface C. E. Egboka is staff and students friendly. No one has been maltreated for his/her views. Infact the VC received the newly elected executive of the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) few days back where he restated his resolve to work selflessly to make the University a model in the comity of universities in Nigeria and beyond. We, therefore, express our disapproval of the determination of these faceless and evil petitioners to drag the image of the University to the mud. We recognize that the Vice-Chancellor is human and can make mistakes in the course of selflessly working to better the life and development of the University community and her members but such negligible mistakes cannot be used as basis to malign an innocent person and paint the University black.
21.We hope and pray to God Almighty, the Defender of both the strong and the weak, that at the end of the EFCC investigations as well as the organizations where copies of the petitions were copiously-distributed, these false allegations can be shown for what they are – TRASH-IN-THE-CAN of perfidy.