Public hearing: Hope rises for sacked varsity staff

Hope has risen for the about 63 Staff of Ebonyi State University relieved of their jobs last December over some inconsistencies in their records as the State Government executive committee on Monday assured them of positive outcome.
The assurance came from a public hearing on the matter initiated by the committee, held at the Mock Parliament Hall of the University.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, assured the affected staff that the committee would make an objective report and bold recommendations to the Government that would lead to positive resolution of the impasse.
Owne, who is also the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, however, clarified that the sack of those employees was not political as being insinuated in some quarters, especially by the opposition party in the state.
Onwe, who expressed satisfaction with the findings at the public hearing, said the committee has noticed the thoroughness of the University in the staff audit exercise which resulted to the sack as well as the human impact of the outcome, promising to put them into objective consideration in their report.
He emphasized that Governor David Umahi in his compassionate nature had deemed it necessary to set up the executive committee to further investigate the matter so as to offer the affected persons the right to fair hearing as well as forestall all forms of ill feelings.
Onwe explained: “All I can say is that we are going to be objective with all the presentations.
“We have seen the thoroughness with which the university did what they did, we have seen the human impact and we have also seen the individuals that came to throw more light to what happened.
“All of these things are the factors we are going to take into account and get to an objective, impartial report and at the same time give a compassionate report and recommendations to the Governor
“His Excellency saw the necessity to set up this committee so that nobody will go away felling that they have been poorly treated.
“That is not his style.
“There is no political consideration in what we are doing.
“This committee was set up a long time ago, in fact more than three weeks ago.
“There were circumstances that made us seek for extension of time and that is why the hearing is taking place today.”
On the alleged bragging by the major opposition party in the state, All Progressives Congress, that it would reinstate the disengaged staff of the university when in power, Onwe described such as cheap propaganda.
He noted that it was not in the nature of the Umahi administration to want to appease a few staff members that were less than 1,000 on the basis of political consideration.
He maintained that the opposition from all indications had nothing to offer neither do they have any basis for winning elections in the State, stressing that the re-election of the Governor was assured.
Reaching to the development, the Chairman, Non Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ebonyi State chapter, Comrade Emmanuel Obo, expressed joy that Governor Umahi kept his earlier promise.
He expressed optimism that the work of the committee, when concluded, would meet their expectations.
Obo said: “It will meet up my expectation because I have been struggling for them to understand the mistake they did by terminating the jobs of these workers.
“Before His Excellency on 16th of January, I appealed with him to look into this and my joy is that the committee he graciously set up has seen things for themselves.
“They have interacted with the staffers whose appointment were terminated and I feel good because this is what I have been fighting for.”
Some of the affected Staff, including John Ugwu, Justina Nwode and Rev. Donatus Njoku, who is also the Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ebonyi State chapter, in an emotion laden voice described their case as that of one swallowed by a lion.
Njoku narrated how he was coerced by the panel and finally asked to produce his testimonial, which he did, only for him to receive a letter of disengagement after.
Recall that resulting from the ordered University Staff audit, last year, about 63 staff of the University were sacked for various irregularities in their employment records.
While some were laid off for multiple dates of birth, others were affected as a result of alleged falsifications in their academic and employment records.