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UNICAL : Why Agi's Removal Is A Blessing

Peter Agi, UNICAL Ex-Bursar
Contrary to insinuations trending on social media that former University of Calabar Bursar, Peter Agi was axed by a cabal working secretly against the success of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu, investigation has shown that the removal didn't just followed due process, it is a blessing in disguise to the university.

In fact, a senior staff of the university who pleaded not to be mentioned described Agi as "a time bomb" who would have destroyed every good thing the university was known for. He said Agi was not just a bane to the development of the institution but everything about him was anti-academics.

Agi, at some point according to impeccable source was "working against everything good while in the other hand wanted everything bad to be adopted in the university. So his removal was long overdue and of course was in accordance with the laws setting up the prestigious University of Calabar.

"We the senior staffers of this great university who have suffered all sorts of insults, harassment, intimidation and abuses by a boy who was our students barely few years ago hail the VC for his removal. Even if Zana fails to do anything again, he has saved UNICAL from total collapse by showing the recalcitrant boy the exit door. With him, it was like UNICAL was on a cake of gong powder".

On whether his removal was legal or not, investigation has revealed the University management and the Governning Council acted in accordance with the relevant laws that deals with removal of a principal officer of the institution.

According to my findings, Agi was first suspended on Monday 22nd August, 2016 by the Vice Chancellor at the behest of the university management. This was after management reviewed petitions from various organs of the institution against him. This reports were alleged cases of insubordination, Gross misconduct and radicalism displayed against staff, management and even the VC.

In line with due process, the VC submitted report of the suspension of Agi to the University's Governing Council.  Worried by the heinous criminal allegations leveled against Agi, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council, Immanuel Anyawu constituted an 8-man committee to investigate the matter. This was done at the council's 145 meeting held on the 3rd of November 2016.

This development was in compliance with Section 15(1c). To give both parties opportunities for fair hearing, the Committee invited Mr Agi on the 23rd of September, 2016 but Agi in his usual attribute of undermining constituted authorities failed to honour the invitation. At this instance, Agi didn't only deny himself the window created for fair hearing but disregard the highest decision making body of the university.

This at the time raised questions of who was misleading the young bursar. A body that the VC appeared before to defend his petition was apparently perceived by Agi to be too small to invite him. After pressure from various quarters, Agi rooted a letter through his lawyer in an abusive and threatening language explaining why he failed to honour the invitation.

Similarly, after reviewing the Vice Chancellor's report against Agi and due interview of all parties concerned (including an intensive review of retinue of memoranda of complaints from staff, Unions, and university committee ), the committee found Agi culpable of the following:

Refusal to make an official trip even when arrangements were concluded.

Refusal to respond to query issued in the wake of the disturbance of the academic activities of the university of Calabar by some hoodlums suspiciously sponsored by Mr Agi on the 15th August, 2016.

Illegal mobilization and bringing of non-staff including thugs and cultists into the University to foment trouble.

Absence from duty without
authorization, yet requesting members of the University to transact university's business with him through phone call.

Unilateral granting Press interviews without authorization by relevant organ of the university.

Unauthorized transfer of funds to undisclosed accounts without approval of the Vice Chancellor.

Violation of Management/Council directives with impunity. The violated rules include;

Refusal to pay duly authorized and approved allowances to staff

Refusal to procure buses for units due for accreditation and other pool vehicles thus resulting in denial of accreditation to Department of Public Health, Faculty of Allied Medical Science.

Purchase of a different brand of vehicle (Toyota Highlander) instead of duly approved Sienna, at a cost higher than what the Vice Chancellor has approved.

Refusal to release Interim Payment Certificate (IPCs) and other payment to TETFUND and NEEDS Assessment Contractors even when funds were available

De-activating or delisting the Vice Chancellor from the CBN e-payment platform

Issuing secular to staff to route all requests for funds through his office to the Vice Chancellor without authorization by management.

Intemperate use of insulting and disrespectful language on staff in both oral and written communication.

Unilateral switching to unauthorized platform (Zellence) for collection of school charges were over 200,000,000 (two hundred million naira) was collected and unaccounted for.

Exceeding the limit of his authority as bursar in the discharge of his office in the following instances;

De-activating or delisting the Vice Chancellor from CBN e-payment platform.

Issuing circular to staff to route all requests for funds through his office.

Irregular transfer of funds without the knowledge, authorization or approval of the Vice Chancellor.

Violation of Management/Council regulations enumerated 7(a-d).

Discountenacing, rejecting, varying and re-approaving the Vice Chancellor's approvals.

Unilateral granting of Press interviews on official matters without authorization

Unilaterally ordering banks not to accept school charges through an existing platform and creating an alternative platform (Zellence) without management's approval for which funds totaling over two hundred million naira was collected and unaccounted for up till date.

From the findings of the committee, and in line with UNICAL Condition of service rules 2014, the Council recommended the dismissal or termination of the appointment of Mr Peter Agi.

The Council also recommended a complete and forensic audit of the account of the university from the date of assumption of office by Agi to the date of his suspension from office.

Lastly, the Council recommended that the university should lodge a report of the case to the following agencies; Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau and a formal report to the police.

With all these atrocities and many more which further investigation will reveal, it is malicious, mischievous and wicked for anybody to allege that the VC or a cabal orchestrated the removal of the controversial former bursar. The interest of UNICAL is worth much more than any individual interest.

In fact, rather than vilifying the VC, people who genuinely have UNICAL interest should applaud him for having the boldness to combat the threat pose by Agi.

This is not to say that anybody is a saint. Anybody found wanting, be it the highest authority in the university should be made to face the consequences of his or her actions.

Inyali Peter, a good governance crusader, a Social Commentator and Cross River State Publicity Secretary of Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria. He can be reached via inyalipeter@gmail.com.

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