|Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu|
In a save our soul, SOS letter to President Jonathan, by Comrade Demian Onyido on behalf of the group known as Coalition for Transparency and Integrity (COTI), has exposed the rot in Dr. Anuebunwa led Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu in Ebonyi State.
According to the SOS letter; “The feature article published entitled “Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu: A Study in Neglect” published in The Guardian Newspaper of Thursday, July 10, 2014, Page 57, at the behest of the Acting Provost, Dr. Felix Anuebunwa and Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku of College is another harvest of lies and fallacies weaved to deceive the public. It is the height of insolence on the right-thinking members staff and students of the institution.
The Group also allege that; “Even though the duo has always boasted to staff and students of the College that all their illegalities and misrule had the blessings of the The Executive Secretary as well as the Chairman of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria and The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, it has become most pertinent to set the records straight to avoid deceiving the public. This rejoinder also comes as a benefit of doubt for these supervising institutions, public officers, and anti-graft agencies in case these are unaware of goings-on in this College. Instructively, this Ishiagu is the hometown of the AGF, Sen. Anyim Pius!”
Commenting on the issue of employment, group said that Dr Anuebunwa did not tell the public through the publication that he employed over 200 staff without advertisement and interview in line with extant rules and due process. He, Ndubuaku, and the Board Chairman simply handpicked their kits and kin, including candidates given to them by the ARCN, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Accountant General of the Federation’s Office, IPPIS staff, whom they felt would protect them saying that Federal Civil Service Commission, Abuja gave them waiver to employ such number of staff without advertisement.
“Where has such waiver EVER been given to employ more than 200 staff without any advertisement in any of the national dailies? They also claimed that it was part of the number the ousted Provost, Dr Ajah, did not employ during his tenure – a blatant lie! The newly employed staffs were forced to open salary accounts with Diamond Bank, Okigwe or forfeit the employment and also belong to Legacy Pension Funds Administrator as opposed to their wishes. It is left for the public to judge if a dangerous business deal is going on between Dr. Anuebunwa and Ndubuaku and Manager of Diamond Bank, Okigwe Branch,” the group asked.
COTI also said that there is no neglecting of the School as the Federal Government released capital allocation to the tune of N123m in 2013, which is nowhere to be found – all within one year. The Internally Generated Revenue being generated by the College is not put to any good use. They diverted the 2013 allocations into FECAI Account (A business unit of the College) and used cheques instead of approved E-payment system and fictitious contract award letters to their companies to drain the money; “ In all the contract award letters, the same name will be used with different signatures – Corruption at the peak. Where is the N88m released for Youth Training and Empowerment in 2014? Yet they said the FG is neglecting the College and did not release any allocation – What a cross purpose of intents!”
Other things which was done to show that the school was not neglected includes; Completion of new administrative block; Re-enforcing and re-building of crop Production; Completion of 30 metric tons fish water re-circulatory system per cycle; Building of standard 10 bedroom guest house; Purchase and installation of new 500 – KVA sound proof generator to boost power in the college; Mounting of NBTE approved 4 new departments of Fisheries Technology, Computer Technology, Agricultural Engineering Technology, Home and Rural Economics and Science Lab. Technology; Purchase of 4WD utility vehicle and a 14- seater bus; Purchase of 30 fibre tanks of 1000 capacity each for fish experiment and production; Purchase and installation of modern Garri and Flour processing machines; Rehabilitation of existing 33 KVA line from Ishiagu community to the college; Maintenance of the EXISTING 300 KVA sub-station transformer and connection of the college to the National grid; Re-enlisting of the college HND graduates into NYSC programme; Undertaken the expansion of the college broiler chicken facility to a capacity of 8,000 laying birds and doubling the piggery unit.”
The issue of illegal deductions has been on the rise, for instance the group also said; “Since inception of contributory pension, the College Staff’s contributory pension has been deducted at source from the Account General’s Office and remitted to the PFAs in which TRUST FUND is one of the major PFAs to which over 350 staff belong. TRUSTFUND has been remitting the statement of accounts to all staff and the 15% deduction had been intact until Dr Anuebunwa and Mr T. C. N. Ndubuaku summoned a meeting of all staff to tell them that they had been directed to start removing 7.5% from staff salary as Pension contribution, which they will be remitting to the PFAs and no more deducted at source thereby making it 22.5%.
“That means FG contributes 7.5% while staff contribute 15%! It has been found out that they are not remitting this pension since they started in February 2014. The PFAs have denied any remittance from the College and wondered why the additional deductions since the 15% are still being remitted from source by the AGF’s Office. Why didn’t Dr Anuebunwa tell the reading audience that he did this? Why has the College not been enrolled into IPPIS despite the pressure from the Unions and entire staff to enroll the College into IPPIS since March 2014? They promised they would migrate the College in April, but that they wanted to clean their table first. Rather they resorted to intimidating staff with transfer to the Northern States, especially the hotbeds of Boko Haram insurgency. What a subterfuge! Indeed the efficacy of the new Pension law should be test-run on the two men.”
Rather than bringing in infrastructural development, the Anuebunwa regime has brought no infrastructural development; rather there has been decay of infrastructure. “The General Studies and fisheries Departments’ TETFUND building projects claimed by Dr. Anuebunwa to have been abandoned over the years were never abandoned. The fact still remains that the ousted Provost, Dr Paul Ajah was at the verge of completing the projects before the allegation of financial misappropriation and embezzlement was leveled against him. What Dr Anuebunwa did was to access the balance of the money for the buildings from the TETFund and completed the buildings. Dr Ajah was suspended from office in March 2013 while the projects were still on going. How come a project that was started in 2011 amidst management crisis and completed in early 2013 has become abandoned over the years as alleged by Dr Anuebunwa. The projects would have been completed in 2012 save for the management crisis masterminded by Dr Anuebunwa and his kinsman Mr T. C. N. Ndubuaku (National Secretary, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes (ASURI)),” the Group said.
Given the streamline of projects which has not seen light of the day, the Group said; “The Poultry being mentioned was never rehabilitated by Dr Anuebunwa. Recall that the poultry stock was increased from 4000 to 7000 birds by Dr Ajah shortly before his exit. The truth is that the poultry dwindles very day since the birth of Dr Anuebunwa’s administration. These are verifiable facts on ground. Why did Dr Anuebeunwa not mention the speed with which he and Ndubuaku share the College cows to people they are wooing to assist Dr Anuebunwa become the substantive Provost. The College cows and goats have been grossly decimated since the inception of this administration; the feed mill and giant flash dryer have been functional since 2010 save for routine servicing/maintenance. Please call Mr Adeyemi Olabode (08063379970) to find out if the feedmill has not been functional since 2010. He is a man of God and integrity. He will say the truth. Mr. Olabode has been the man managing the feed mill since then till date. Please! What did Dr Anuebunwa rehabilitate?
Moreso, “The College new gate being constructed – Yes! Dr Anuebunwa and Mr Ndubuaku through their self floated company Global Growth Construction Company accessed over N4m from the College purse to reconstruct the gate. Till date, the gate has not been completed. The security bit (gatehouse) of the project has not been roofed. They only painted the outside with cream coloured paint to deceive passers-by. How has it become through public-private-partnership that the new gate is being constructed yet not completed? What and how much is the College’s counterpart funding to the project,” the Group said.
Inspite of the increase in departments and students population, but there are some questions begging for answers, such questions as; Are these Departments (Business Administration, Accountancy, Marketing, Public Administration, etc) approved, let alone accredited by the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE? None! These students are being deceived by Anuebunwa administration because their certificates will not be accepted anywhere in the world;
“How many forms were sold for this present academic session and how many students were admitted? More than 10,000 admission forms were sold at the cost of N6000 per form. Dr Anuebunwa and Ndubuaku took N2000 perform as commission saying that the forms were sold by commissioned agents which later turned to be their private companies. No agents sold any forms. I stand to be challenged. The students went to First Bank Nig. PLC, paid N4,000 into the College’s account, and were issued with bank tellers with which they came to the College to collect the College receipts for the forms. This is normal routine that the College has been using to sell admission forms in the past. The cost of the forms has been N4000 per form. Where did agents come in, in this transaction? Dr Anuebunwa and Ndubuaku shared the commission amounting to about N20m, which they claimed that The ARCN and the Minister were aware of, all in the bid to be made the substantive Provost. Admitted students were made to pay N200 each for screening. The money/payment was master minded and executed by Dr Anuebunwa’s Man-Friday, Mr. Ndubuaku in Ndubuaku’s office (Planning Unit) and was never paid into the College account as the students paid cash and no apparent screening was done.”
“MTN erected a new mast – Yes! Did MTN not pay the College some money worth more than N4m? – Where is the money and what was it used for? Most like used to sort out Dr. Anuebunwa’s do-or-die pursuit for confirmation as Provost of the College;
on the issue of erection of new hostels the group said; “This is a fallacious claim. No such thing exits or is happening in the College. Where do they exist? In the moon”
The students and staff have been under serious suffering, as the group said; “It suffices to state categorically that peace has eluded the College due to the unprecedented hardships faced by both staff and students since June 2013 till date. Yet, Dr Anuebunwa and Ndubuaku are striving hard to ensure that Anuebunwa becomes the substantive Provost to continue with the looting and misrule. So, again I ask, “Who is neglecting who?” The only neglect I see here is that the Federal Government and anti-graft agencies have long looked the other way while one man and his gang are running the College aground.”
It was also gathered that Prof. paul Ajah had worked had to secure the 2012 capital vote which was caught up with the CBN Enugu awaiting the execution of college portable water project, perimeter fencing of the college, 56 Seater students bus, two academic classroom blocks and completion of abandoned college auditorium, however the Group said; “unfortunately, Aniebunwa and the Ag. college Auditor, Jerry Ogbonna, whom has been due for retirement but still being retained by Aniebunwa to cover his corrupt practices, sat on these contract award mandates and frustrated the execution of these laudable projects that would have improved the welfare of the college, students, staff as well as host community, which would have had access to portable drinking water, a FIRST in Ishiagu community. Aniebunwa and cohorts prompted the mopping up of the capital vote for 2012 in the tune of 198 million.
The Group also asked: “One wonders for how long ARCN and Federal Ministry of Agriculture would continue to play the ostrich over the maladministration of Aniebunwa? The college is yet to enlist into the IPPIS system for reasons best known to them and the Federal Ministry of Finance just looks on. For how long wills the stakeholders of Ishiagu community continue to pretend that all is well with the institution? Our hope of redemption from these massive corruptions shall come from God, one after another. It has just started.”