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ASUU Seeks Probe Into Tenure Expiration, Alleged Financial Recklessness, Sales Of Varsity Properties By SIT

ASUU Accuses AAU Ekpoma Administration of Feeble and Evasive Response to  its Allegations - Iroko Magazine

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma Chapter has expressed grave concern over the far-reaching legal consequences of the continued stay by the University’s Special Intervention Team (SIT) whose tenure expired in November 2022.

“All decisions and directives anchored on SIT’s orders or directives in the University since November 2022 are open to legal disputations”, the Union said in a terse press statement made available to Trojan News Media in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday.


In the statement signed by Dr. Cyril Onogbosele and Dr. William Odon, Chairperson and Assistant Secretary of the University’s Chapter of ASUU respectively, the Union warned that the legal implications of the continued operation of SIT in the institution might be too much for the institution to bear now and in the future, particularly in its day-to-day financial and administrative policies/directives on the disciplinary processes of staff and students, and the management of the University’s properties.

The Union who claimed to be alarmed and inundated by reports of “financial recklessness, mismanagement and outright sales of properties of the University by the SIT”, expressed strong resolve to ensure justice for the university, its workers and students.

Specifically, the Union cited the non-procedural sales of the University’s properties at Emaudo Campus and the skepticism surrounding the owner-status of the University’s Liason Building in Benin City, adding that it was surprised to hear that the University allegedly paid a whooping sum of more than 22 million naira as service charge on the University’s property at Abuja.

The questions bordering the minds of ASUU and other stakeholders of the University are many. What is the motivation for sales of the University properties by the SIT? Considering the expiration of the tenure of SIT, is it legal for the body (SIT) to authorize sales of the University’s properties? Who is in custody of the money realized from sales of the University’s properties by SIT?

“Financial profligacy is in ascendancy in the University, including the payment of eight million naira (N8 million) as monthly clearing charge of the university campus even when fire is being used to do the clearing of weeds while many parts of the university campus are left uncleared”, the Union alleged.

In addition, “The continuing collection of sitting, transport and duty allowances, etc., arising from unnecessary frequent meetings and movements by members of the SIT from the meager finance of the University has become a serious illegality that is now too grave to ignore”, the statement said.

According to the Union, “the public deserves to know how much of the University’s funds have gone into the activities of the SIT and its members since they came in 2021 and what they have been able to attract to the University in the period”, the Union said. As a result, the Union called on a thorough probe into the financial activities, managerial policies and directives of the SIT in its period of operation in the University.

Recall that irked by perceived mismanagement and maladministration in the operation of the University, Governor Obaseki caused the enactment of a strange new Law for the University entitled Ambrose Alli University (Special Intervention Powers) Law 2021, effective May 10, 2021. By virtue of Section 2(b) of the said law, the Governor who is the Visitor to the University constituted a 10-member SIT to exercise all the power and functions of the Council as enshrined in Ambrose Alli University Establishment Law 1999 (As Amended), except with respect to the appointment and removal of Principal Officers.

By virtue of Part II, Section 5 of the Law, the period for operation of SIT “shall not be more than one calendar year, in the first instance, subject to extension for another period of six months only”.

Without prejudice to the case between the Union and the Edo State Government in the law court over the legality of the aforesaid law, the SIT has served out the one-calendar-year term and the extension of 6 months, since November 2022. This implies that the continuing operation and activities of SIT in the University after the expiration of the period allowed by even the contentious law, amounts to illegality and lawlessness.

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