The attention of the Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC), kogi state chapter has been drawn to an online publication on African Profile world in July, 2020 assassinating the character of Prof. Angela Freeman Miri, the vice chancellor of federal university lokoja on alleged financial impropriety.
The recent media attack by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) against the administration of the Vice-Chancellor Federal University Lokoja (FUL) Prof. (Mrs.) Angela Miri on matter of an alleged financial impropriety leveled against her is uncalled for and politically motivated.
The online/media attack from SERAP on the person of the Vice-Chancellor came to the notice of our association, the Nigeria Youth Congress Kogi State Chapter (NYC) as a surprise. The accusation that the Vice-Chancellor dipped her hands into the various accounts of the university is, to say the less, frivolous, baseless, malicious and satanically orchestrated to malign her person.
To many of us that came across the press release from SERAP, it is very glaring to us that the whole story is a figment of the imagination of the writer. The whole write-up shows lack of coherent and reliable facts on the financial situation in the institution and falls short of internationally acceptable best practices on investigative journalism. The Non authentication of this write-up invalidates its credibility. One would have expected SERAP to do due diligence to ascertain a true position of things in the university before going to press.
The indictment of the vice chancellor on financial recklessness without recourse to any administrative and judicial panel says more of sordid job done to assassinate the character of the vice chancellor.
One wonders where this allegation is coming from, is it from administrative/judicial panel or from rumor mills?
The following alleged and unsubstantiated infractions were mentioned by SERAP against the Vice- Chancellor:
(A) “Failure to remit internally generated revenue of N61,930,601.59 for 2015 – 2016 to the authorities.”
Our response to the above allegation is that SERAP missed it all for saying the current Vice-Chancellor never remitted the above sum to the authorities because she was not in that office at the period covered by this allegation and as such, she couldn’t have received such money quoted above, talk-less of remitting same to the authorities concerned. Take note, the current Vice – Chancellor was appointed in 2016 and not 2015.
(B) “Failure to remit N10, 198,000 from contract registration, sale of asset and rent for this period”
If the period is the same as above (A), then it does not apply to the current Vice-Chancellor because she was not appointed to that office as of that period. So, there is no way she can defend 2015 contract registration, sale of asset and rent.
(C) “The Federal University, Lokoja also reportedly paid N5,249,460.00 into a Diamond Bank Account No 0011525942, a private account of the Vice-Chancellor to renovate his rented residence, contrary to existing guidelines.”
For SERAP to have used his for the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Lokoja shows, SERAP has a limited information about the person they were supposed to investigate on. Presently, the Vice-Chancellor is a woman, a great mother indeed. Furthermore, SERAP fails to provide the public other details such as name of the account holder and the date the money was paid. For over two years or thereabout, the Vice-Chancellor has been living in a house bought by the university for the Vice-Chancellor, meaning that the Vice-Chancellor is not living in a rented apartment. This shows that SERAP did a sordid investigation.
(D) “The Federal University Lokoja also reportedly paid N50,350,728.48 to some staff as professional allowances without any approval”
If at all such money was paid to some staff of the university as alleged by SERAP, our group thinks it is better the payment is made than to owe the staff for the services rendered to the university and this is a normal practice and procedure in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. We want to believe that the Vice-Chancellor is always guided by all financial regulations guiding payment.
(E) “N657,274,348.51 was paid as student’s ratio allowances but these allowance were already consolidated in the staff salary.”
This is a piece of information for public consumption.
There is nothing incriminating that points to the Vice-Chancellor of dipping her hands into the purse of the university. If the allowances were already consolidated in the staff salary, so be it.
(F) “The Federal University Lokoja also reportedly collected N5,040,444.00 from university’s post UTME fees First Bank A/C No. 2018447343 on 15th September 2015 without any documentation as to the beneficiary of the withdrawal”
Like in A and B, discussed above, the current Vice-Chancellor was never a staff of Federal University, Lokoja as of 2015 and there was no way she would have tampered with the above mentioned money and therefore, there was no way she could address the issue raised in F.
(G) “The Federal University, Lokoja alleged diversion of N4,551,787.00 from the University’s account with the CBN into two private account numbers with the Heritage Bank: 1000493574 and 1000493349.”
SERAP came up with some concocted Heritage Bank private accounts but never provided information on when the money was diverted? Who diverted the said money and the account holders?
INCOHERENT FACTS ABOUT THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, LOKOJA
From the above, we have deduced that SERAP has no knowledge of the financial workings of the university especially Federal university Lokoja. SERAP should not allow itself to be used by some unscrupulous individuals within and outside the university to achieve their inordinate and wicked ambition. SERAP is advised also to always be diligent by doing investigation before going public on matters of National interest. The position of SERAP is speculative, wicked and targeted to tarnish the good name of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Angela Miri
The congress strongly believes that the alleged figures in the press release were all concocted by SERAP to create disaffection within the university community.
SERAP should take its time to confirm or ascertain some of these allegations from the university authority before hitting the public with their false alarm on massive corruption in the university. Presently, no one from the university has ever raised question on the integrity of the Vice-Chancellor. Now, why is SERAP after her?
Let it be known that, the Nigeria Youth Congress, kogi state chapter, will never in any form support corrupt practices from any quarter, neither Will it condone any form of harassment, intimidation and character assassination of any person or institution within the precinct of the state. We must support the stand of President Buhari against corruption and its tendencies in Nigeria.
PROF. ANGELA FREEMAN: AN ADMINISTRATOR PAR EXCELLENCE
The current vice-chancellor of the Federal University, Lokoja has wealth of experience which she deployed very well in all places she has worked. She has served at higher capacity in Plateau State as a former commissioner in two different ministries including education and she had never been found wanting, her good record in the past paved way for her appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of FUL.
Prof. Angela Miri for the last four years has achieved a lot for the university and this is not the right time and avenue to destroy her good works.
Below are some of her achievements:
FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LOKOJA ACHIEVEMENTS UNDER THE ABLE LEADERSHIP OF PROFESSOR ANGELA FREEMAN MIRI
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Angela Freeman Miri has been instrumental to the completion of the 2014 NEEDS Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities Special Presidential Intervention Project.
A 2-storey block of classrooms and offices which had commenced since 2015 with the release of the first Tranche payment of the sum of N55,000,000.00 to the former Vice-Chancellor Professor Abdulmumini Hassan Rafindadi had stagnated since then, until the current Vice-Chancellor Professor Angela Freeman Miri along with her Management Team took the bull by the horns and saw to its completion and furnishings in 2019 with the release of the second Tranche payment of N44,000,000.00 only.
Another milestone achievement under the focused leadership of Professor Angela F. Miri was the revitalization of the decayed infrastructures in the University following the release of the sum of N104,017,379.78 only for that purpose. Thus, under Professor Miri’s purview, the following Projects were implemented:
*Procurement of Laboratory Equipment for Chemistry, Physics, Biological Sciences, Geology, Mathematics, Computer Sciences and Geography Department respectively.
*Procurement of furniture for Twelfth (12) classrooms NANPU project. Prior to the assumption of office of the indefatigable Vice-Chancellor Professor Angela Freeman Miri to Federal University Lokoja, the institution had full accreditation for only five (5) programmes in the then Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences while the six (6) programmmes in the Faculty of Science had only partial or interim accreditation for lack of functional Laboratories and Physical infrastructural facilities such as classrooms and offices for staff to perform optimally. Again, the current Vice-Chancellor saw these challenges as surmountable and thus, commenced the process of accessing the TETFund Intervention Allocations that were lying unaccessed at the TETFund. With the cooperation of the Management and the good will of the TETFund, she was able to access the 2014 TETFund Annual Intervention Allocation for the construction of the Ultra Modern Laboratories; Construction of Departmental Offices and Block of Classrooms; a Multipurpose Centre which were all completed and furnished in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Under the Administration of Professor Angela Freeman Miri, the School of Post-Graduate Studies (SPGS) was established in the University where the following Postgraduate Programmes are offered with effect from the 2019/2020 Academic Session:
i. Computer Science, PGD/M.Sc/PhD
ii. Mathematics, PGD/M.Sc/PhD
iii. Biology, PGD/M.Sc/PhD
iv. Physics, PGD/M.Sc/PhD
v. English Language, M.A/PhD
vi. Literature-in-English, M.A/PhD
vii. History and International Studies, M.A/PhD
viii. Geography, M.Sc/PhD
ix. Geology, M.Sc/PhD
x. Physical Chemistry, M.Sc/PhD
xi. Analytical Chemistry M.Sc/PhD
xii. Organic Chemistry M.Sc/PhD
xiii. Inorganic Chemistry, M.Sc/PhD
xiv. Political Science, PGD/M.Sc
xv. Economics, PGD/M.Sc
xvi. Peace and Conflict Studies, PGD
xvii. Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies
Notwithstanding the challenges of funds and infrastructural facilities being faced by the University, the Professor Angela F. Miri-led Management has established twenty nine (29) additional programmes awaiting Resource Verification by the National Universities Commission (NUC). With only two Faculties at inception, the University under the Professor Angela F. Miri-led Management has established three (3) additional Faculties namely: splitting of the Faculty of Arts from the Faculty of Social Sciences; Faculty of Management Sciences and the Faculty of Education. These are landmark achievements that mischief makers cannot see because they are blindfolded by envy and malice.
Professor Miri was able to access as well the TETFund 2011-2016 Rehabilitation Intervention Allocations and has utilized same for the Rehabilitation of the Council Chambers and Senate Building that were almost collapsing at the Adankolo Campus of the University.
Additionally, the Professor Angela F. Miri-led Management saw it as a duty and priority to reconstruct, remodel and expand the hitherto 3-bed Clinic that was barely meeting the health requirements of the University Community and the immediate neighboring Community of Adankolo. Management saw to the expansion and remodeling of the hitherto, inadequate 3-bed facility to a 20-bed Health Centre with a Theatre, Delivery suites, Male and Female wards, Laboratory, Consulting rooms and Pharmacy, to mention but a few. All these facilities are within the Adankolo Campus.
At the Felele Campus of the University (Permanent Site), on the other hand, the numerous Physical Infrastructural facilities, some completed, others on-going are the results or outcome of a focused, determined leadership of the Professor Angela Freeman Miri-led Management team.
Activities commenced at the Felele Campus (Permanent Site) with the clearing of the thick forest and overgrown shrubs at the site in 2017 before the 2nd Convocation Ceremony was held there. Since then, the Remedial Science Programme established by the Prof Miri-led Administration has been going on there at the Permanent Site.
The Extra-ordinary Meeting of Council was held there in 2017 shortly before the 2nd Convocation. Above all, the 14th Regular meeting of the 2nd Governing Council was also held at the Felele Campus (Permanent Site).
The 2 billion Naira High Impact TETFund Supplementation of the Take-off Grant (Phase I) Allocation have been expended on the constructions of Departmental Blocks of Offices and Classrooms; 250 seating capacity twin Lecture Theatres (A & B); Construction of Faculty of Education, Multipurpose Centre; Faculty of Management Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Social Sciences; 250-seating capacity Block for Computer Based-Test; Drama Village building and Block of Classrooms are Projects that can be sighted as seriously going on at the Permanent Site.
Yet another progressive move is the recent approval by the Ministerial Tenders Board of the Federal Ministry of Education to the University for the utilization of the 2015 – 2018 (merged) TETFund Intervention Allocations for the constructions of landmark projects at the University Felele Campus (Permanent site) namely: Faculty of Management Sciences, construction and furnishing of 250 seating capacity lecture Theatres (A & B); construction of Departmental offices and Block of Classrooms, Multi-purpose Centre and Ultra-Modern Laboratories; supply of Solar lights and Panels for distribution across both (Adankolo and Felele) campuses for illumination and security purposes to name but a few.
Above all, the Entrance Gate and the Gate house constructed at the Permanent site bears the concept/significance of the Federal University Lokoja cited and seated at the Confluence of the Rivers, Niger and Benue where both rivers meet in Lokoja with FUL insignia boldly inscribed and embossed on the structure of the Gate.
This concept came about as a result of the Vice-Chancellor’s thorough thought and from one who means so well for the University in contra-distinction to some of those elements/misfits who only want to pull her down with the University that provides their very sustenance and those of their families. What a shame!
There is no gain saying the fact that despite the spade of frivolities and antagonisms against the person of the Vice-Chancellor, she has been dogged, determined and focused to the shame of all those greedy and mischievous detractors who are mainly the disgruntled elements who are envious of the position of the Vice-Chancellor.
The sacrifice of labour and love for the institution being exhibited daily by Professor Angela F. Miri will surely not go in vain, as it is hoped that successive generations of Administrations and the University Community would continually guide jealously and work towards the progress of the institution long after the productive tenure of the current Vice-Chancellor is over.
The contribution of Prof. Angela F Miri-led management has made the university to become an envy of many other Universities of its age in recent times despite the scarce resources available to the management of the institution under her watch. The university has experienced a peaceful academic life; lecturers have enjoyed many university welfare considerations as applicable to other Nigerian universities. Other visible and viable projects carried out by Prof. Angela Freeman Miri led management include the following: setting up of bindery section for the university library; promotions of staff; conduct of staff verification and proper placement exercise; gazetting of the University establishment Act; securing a Permanent Residential Accommodation for the Vice-Chancellor; production of new academic gowns for Council members, principal officers, Senate members and upgrading of undergraduate academic gowns, recruitment of qualified university teachers and non-teaching staff, a well- organized 3rd and 4th combined convocation was held at the permanent site of the institution among several others. The peace and tranquility in and within the university environment is worth celebrating during her tenure in office.
It must be clearly stated too that the current Vice-Chancellor of the university enjoys relative good working relationship with both management, staff and students of the institution thereby promoting a peaceful academic environment in the university.
SERAP must offer public apology to the Vice-Chancellor and the university community for misleading the general public on the so-called high level of corruption in the Federal University, Lokoja. The Vice-Chancellor is not under any investigation and that there is no iota of truth in the alleged financial recklessness at the institution as claimed by SERAP. As far as we know, the V-C is corruption free.
Finally, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor has barely eight months to round off her tenure in office, therefore, any form of distraction at this point is unnecessary, uncharitable and uncalled for.
For the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Angela Miri, this is the price she has to pay for being a leader, she should be ready to receive praises and blames from people around her, that is leadership for you. Our advice for her as an organization is that she should remain focused and never allow such criticisms to weigh her down. Like her or hate her, Prof Miri is known for dexterity, hardwork, compassion, truthfulness, good sense of judgment, tenacity and uncompromising pursuits for which the people of kogi state are immensely grateful to her especially, for sacrificial services for the growth and development of Federal University Lokoja and its environs.
Comrade Maximilian Emmanuel Tashilani