By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN—THE Management of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), has described as untrue and misleading, the allegation that recruitment and promotion of staff in the university were skewed in favour of the Bini ethnic group.
Reacting to newspaper reports that the Federal Government Visitation Panel Report of 2004-2011 indicted the management of the University led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin over alleged lopsided recruitment and promotion of staff, the Public Relations Officer of the University, Harry Osarenren, said on the contrary, the Federal Government commended the Vice-Chancellor for the progress in the university so far and urged him to correct the imbalance in recruitment and promotion of staff perpetrated by previous administrations.
On the sum of N267.712 million quoted in the report, alleged to have been over spent budget by the University’s management between 2004 and 2010, Osarenren said: “That was the tenure of previous administrations and not that of Prof. Oshodin.”
Vanguard observed that the Federal Government’s Visitation Panel report instructed the Vice-Chancellor to ensure the recruitment of people from the host community into the university system, after it was learnt that people from that area had been deprived of such opportunity since the university was built on their soil 40 years ago.
Osarenren said: “This administration commenced the execution of that directive because host communities are supposed to form between 20-30 per cent of the junior staff. This imbalance was what the Vice-Chancellor tried to correct. If you look at the list of people that were recruited recently, many of them are from other ethnic groups and not Bini as being alleged.”
The Visitation Report made available to Vanguard, commended the management of the University “for restoring peace on the campus and for giving the staff a new lease of life.”
Osarenren said that staff salaries are paid regularly now (on the 23rd of each month) and over N567million owed as arrears have been paid.
He added that the staff pledged their loyalty and commitment to the development of the University. NASU gave an award in September 2010 to the Vice-Chancellor in appreciation of his activities.
The Report however frowned at the Bursary Department over what it described as the “inability of the Bursar to comply with the financial provisions or live up to the responsibilities of the post. It added that the Visitor therefore directs Management to ensure compliance and Council to reassess the position of the Bursar in the event of continued lapses.”