By Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin
A visitation panel set up by the Federal Ministry of Education has concluded plans to meet with the management of the University of Benin and the Federal Polytechnic Auchi both in Edo state over allegations of N2.5 billion scam.
This followed briefs from the Ministry at Abuja to look into the many allegations of fraud involving the two institutions and the nine other universities and Polytechnics which the ministry oversees in the country .
The Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu had inaugurated the visitation panel few days to Christmas in Abuja, and listed the other affected institutions as Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina state, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia state and University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
Other institutions to be visited by the panel, are the Federal University Kashere, Gombe state, University of Abuja, FCT and University of Nigeria, Enugu state, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo state, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra state, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos state and University of Calabar, Cross River state.
While at the University of Benin the panel is expected to see firsthand, all the documents relating to the allegation of graft which formed the series of petitions by some members of staff, received by the Minister, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent corrupt practices commission (ICPC).
The allegations range from procurement fraud to overtime racket and grand looting of Internally generated revenue running into millions of naira, with the active backing of the Governing Council of the University.
In the petitions the staff have labelled the university, “a cesspool of corruption”, even as they called on the President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his searchlight on the decay in the University which has the Emir of Kano, HRH Mohammad Sanusi II, as Chancellor.
The petitioners allege a “N320 million promotion arrears paid to staff in 2017”, which was alleged to have been diverted at a time most members of staff have not had their appointments confirmed or promoted.
They have also referred to a N132 million procurement fraud in three batches two in 2016 involving the sum of N63 million and N96 million with the third involving the sum of N231million purportedly spent on a contract for printing of security and non-security documents which were actually contrived.
Another petitioner alleged that of the sum of N1.7 billion Internally generated revenue (IGR) mostly from consultancy services to federal, states and Local Governments in the Country estimated at N700 million was remitted to the treasury single account (TSA).
Efforts to obtain reactions from the spokespersons of University of Benin and the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi proved abortive as phone calls put to them went without any response.