….says they have confidence in parliament
From Lateef Taiwo
The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria have refuted allegations made in some sections of the media that members of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating Job Racketeering and Mismanagement of the Integrated Personnel Payment Information System (IPPIS)in Ministry, Department and Agencies, MDAs have requested for a bribe.
They made their stance known to the public yesterday while appearing at the resumed hearing of the Ad-hoc committee probing the MDAs which took place at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja
It would be recalled that some sections of the online media had reported that members of the panel had requested vice-chancellors of universities and heads of tertiary institutions to part ways with bribes into a particular bank account to offer them a soft landing during the hearing.
Reports equally alleged that some members have been engaging in extortion of money from heads of federal ministries, departments and agencies, including those of tertiary institutions.
Clearing the allegation against his union, the Vice Chancellor, of the University of Jos, Prof Ishaya Tanko who spoke on behalf of all other VCs during the hearing stated that they had never at any time interfaced with any member of the panel received any money, as well as received any account number to effect payment as bribes.
Prof Tanko further informed the committee that as the union, they have lost many staff through death and retirement without replacement.
According to him, the whole university is currently in conflict as many have not been able to replace staff who either died in active service or left because of one thing or another.
While describing the online publication as malicious lies, he maintained that Universities are not and will never be part of such conspiracy against the lawmakers and the parliament.
He further urged for the support of the parliament through legislation to enable the union to succeed adding that in the University of Jos alone, more than 5 causes have not been accredited.
Consequently, the Chairman of the panel, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi used the opportunity to reiterate his readiness to deliver on the mandates of his committee adding that no amount of intimidation will make him compromise.
He also promised to do more findings until all facts surrounding the allegations of bribery and extortion levelled against members of his panel.
Earlier in his address, the acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Maiyaki Chris while refuting the media report explained that universities across the country have a formidable working relationship with the parliament.
In his reactions, Hon. Gagdi said that he has written to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other investigating agencies to investigate the account number allegedly released to heads of tertiary institutions for the payments of bribes as reported.
He further explained that he and the committee members would not be blackmailed to shy away from carrying out their mandates.
“I have already written to the ICPC to investigate that account number that was published, the owner of that account and whether there is any transaction by vice-chancellors, rectors of polytechnics and leaders of tertiary institutions in the country”, he stated.
The Chairman had earlier on different occasions commended the online medium for certain professionalism but condemned in a strong term, the usage of the word ” corrupt Committee” allegedly used by the platform on the said publication.