By Emma Una
Thirty academic staff of Nigeria Maritime University Warri, Delta State sacked in July are calling for justice and reinstatement as due process was not followed by the management of the institution before relieving them of their jobs.
In a statement in Calabar and signed by three of the teachers on behalf of the others, Justine Eke, Rose Bolinwo and Michael Itekpi made available to Vanguard, the distraught lecturers lamented their plight saying after diligently serving the university for fifteen months they were sent packing for no tangible reason.
In a petition signed by the lecturers, they stated that due process was diligently followed in their recruitment and non of them was issued a query or found wanting in his duties but were sacked fifteen months later
“Sequel to the commencement of operations in 2017, the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Warri, Delta State invited applications for academic staff employment with advert placements in major national dailies in November 2017 and over 6,000 people applied and after scrutiny 1,300 candidates were shortlisted and invited for interviews
“The interviews were conducted on the 1st and 2nd of March, 2018. It is also pertinent to note that the Vice-chancellor Prof. Maureen Etebu administered the questions for the aptitude test herself. Thereafter, successful candidates were subjected to oral interview by seasoned professors and on 10th of April, 2018 a total of 120 successful academic staff were called to resume duties”.
They claimed that the university started academic activities with three faculties approved by NUC and those of employed strived to put in their best in spite of the challenges in order to bring the institution to a reputable pedestal.
“We were involved in the day to day running and activities of the University as many of us acted in different capacities, such as Heads of department, curriculum and Examination”
They said barely six months after the university began operations, a panel was instituted by Professor Etebu to once again screen the staff and the exercise turned out to be a witch hunt as those who at one point or the other have disagreed with her were sacked.
“After fifteen months of service, we were thrown into confusion as we were handed letters of dismissal some of us without even being given the benefit of defending ourselves”.
They alleged that in their place others have been employed without due process a clear departure from what was done during their time.
According to them, the action of the vice Chancellor has sent many of them into depression as they left their jobs in other universities and organisations to take up the Maritime University employment only to be sent packing after a few months.
” We appeal to the Senate and Honourable House of Representatives to look into our plight and order the reconstitution of an independent panel to look into our plight so that we can be reinstated to our jobs”.
They said their families are being subjected to untold suffering and many of them have become depression
Prof Etebu said there is no iota of truth in the allegations that she is presently in the national assembly where the petitions were submitted to defend her action.