The university of Benin is at the moment passing through a trying times as the ones quiet citadel of learning is witnessing internal crisis between some staff known as the integrity group and the Vice Chancellor Prof Faraday Orumwense who have been accused of monumental fraud, abuse of public trust and office, and reintroduction of cultism which have hitherto be on the decline in the university.
In a taught provoking petition by the group titled “gross abuse of public office trust, privileges and monumental fraud ongoing in university of Benin” and signed by Mr Alexander Egunatm, the vice chancellor professor orumwense was alleged amongst other accusations to have approved questionable appointments also commissioned a syndicate through his wife to coordinate the recruitment of staff who were able to pay an agreed sum of three hundred thousand naira for administrative jobs and five hundred thousand naira for academic positions in spite of the university embargo imposed by the governing council of the university of Benin. The fraud according to the group in the petition is well coordinated and executed by the vice chancellor and his wife through the posting of some administrative staff to the official lodge of the VC from where the criminal act is been executed, the primary duties of the staff sent to the lodge is sorting out of applicants who have paid the agreed sum for employment, parents who have paid for admission to read for any course in university of Benin and students who have paid for hostel accommodation. And as part of the questionable approval by the vice chancellor in the petition is the illegal promotion of the present public relation officer of the institution Mr Osasuyi, an administrative assistant, an officer who has hardly spent six months in service from contis 7 step 2 to contis 7 step 10 which they claim is grossly against the ethics of civil service rules.
On the abuse of due process in the award of contracts in the university, the vice chancellor was said to have on assumption of office recruited his agents and those willing to do his bidings as contractors to the university, chief amongst who are “tonyparker and associates, brightstar Nig ltd, swag limited, gousame Nigeria limited and FSS Martins Limited. These companies are made to pay 15 percent upfront for any contacts awarded them to Mrs. Orumwense account on behalf of the vice chancellor, the facts about payments to these companies is said to be an open secret to every university staff in bursary and audit department. Worse in the fraudulent activities of the vice chancellor apart from the illegal splitting of contracts like the renovation of the university demonstration secondary school is the arbitrary inflation of contact sum which is the present norm under the watch of the present vice chancellor who the petition say is not perturbed about the genuine development the university. The criminal inflation of contracts which is said to be perfected by the acting director of works Engineer Otens in collaboration with team of engineers that were carefully selected by the vice chancellor which includes Engr Arasomwan, Engr Egharevba, Engr Otabor and Mr Francis who is one of the numerous personal assistant to Prof Orumwense. For facts to be established on the issue of inflation, the petitioners adviced that the bill of quantity (BOQ’s) prepared by the mentioned team of Engineers be subjected to proper scrutiny and investigation.
Also stated among the numerous accusations against Professor Orumwense and his administration through his unholy alliance with a former vice chancellor of the university of benin is the award of contract to a notorious cultist in benin city, the cultist according to the petition was the leader of the thugs allegedly organised by the Edo state government under the supervision of governor Oshiomhole to invade and demolish the senior staff quarters of the university of benin few months back thereby rendering the university staff homeless. It said despite such adversity couple with the psychological trauma which is still very frsh and visible, Orumwense deemed it fit to award three slots for the industrial cleaning of the faculty of management sciences building and two other buildings to the lead perpetrator of the heinous crime of such magnitude thereby embarrasing the immediate past vice chancellor Prof Godwin Oshodi and his wife including other affected staff and the entire university of Benin.
Even though eighty percent of the contract for the industrial cleaning is been awarded to the wife of the current vice chancellor which she usually sublet to her cronies and that of her husband, the contract sum which was claimed to be awarded for 75,000 (seventy five thousand naira) monthly was astronomically inflated by a deputy registrar and former head of council matters Mrs Ehigiator whose department is in charge of the supervision of industrial cleaning on the orders of Prof Orumwense to 154,000 (one hundred and fifty four thousand naira).
The group petition further on allegations of outright takeover of the university of Benin water factory stated in part that “uniben water factory an award winning brand name and the highest IGR generating arm of the university has practically become a shadow of its old self. immediately the present vice chancellor took office he practically swooped on the water factory by arm twisting the board to appoint a junior staff who is a crony to his wife as manager of the factory, the manager whose name is freeborn and a well documented fraudster who has the knack for diverting water made for sales was at a point sacked from the factory but was returned through dubious means by Prof Orumwense who in addition promoted the junior staff from level 4 to level 9 without any prerequisite qualifications. The water factory manager is said to have always made huge amount without remitting monies to the factory account and in other to cover up the fraudulent activities been perpetrated by freeborn, in January this year the vice chancellor directed the former registrar to withdraw the university statutory auditor from the water factory and was replaced by the junior sister to the wife of the vice chancellor who is not a staff of the university”.
The vice chancellor is also accused of giving undue privileges to his wife and children, the wife who is not a staff of the university of Benin is said to be assigned a Prado jeep of the university and she is also in control of other university luxurious vehicles just as the children are also beneficiaries of the university official cars whereas the vehicles was bought to take care of the university council members and other principal officers.
However confirming receipt of the groups petition in a letter sign by the university of Benin branch of ASUU chairman and its secretary Dr Iyasele J.U and Dr Chikogu R.N respectively, they stated that while the union is only committed to the well being of its members and protection of their rights including the defense of the principle of justice, fairness, discipline and hard work, the union advice the integrity and other interest groups to avail themselves of proper and recognized channels of adjudication and redress to protect the image and integrity of the university of Benin.
Meanwhile commenting on the petition, the university publicist Mr Osasuyi Contacted after several phone calls, stated the group is not only faceless but does not exist in the university therefore his principal the vice chancellor of the university of Benin Prof Faraday Orumwense is not aware of the group and therefore cannot comment on the allegations alleged.