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Row in UCTH over employment scandal



The Cross River State Government representative in the Governing Board of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Legal Counsel of concerned staff of the institution and some applicants who applied for the post of Director of Administration in the Institution (UCTH) have petitioned the Chairman of the Governing Board over the appointment of Director of Administration (DA) by Federal Ministry of Health.

The Federal Ministry of Health had in a letter reference SMH/530/T/1/71, dated July 19th 2019, titled ’Re: Director of Administration, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital’ addressed to the Chairman of Governing Council signed by the Permanent Secretary, A. M. Abdullahi had appointed one Barr Eyoma Edetdet Obong as Director of Administration.

Interestingly, the institution in June 29 2019 advertised for vacancy position of the Director of Administration following the retirement of the incumbent DA, Prof Archibong E. Archibong on September 10, 2019.

Though, the date for the expiration of the six weeks for the advertisement to elapse, seven persons have already applied, suddenly, the Federal Ministry of Health shot out others from applying and appointed Barr Ededet Eyoma Obong against due process of screening, interview and appointment, it was learnt.

The Board member who represented the Cross River State Government and also the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr Joseph A. Bassey petitioned the Board Chairman over the appointment of the DA. The petition dated August 1st 2019 titled Re: ‘Appointment of Director of Administration, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital’ regretted the flagrant abuse of due process by the Federal Ministry of Health.

“I wish to formally protest, in the interest of the Government and people of Cross River State whom I represented in the UCTH Board, against the letter from the Federal Ministry of Health reference SMH 530/T/1/71 of 19th July 2019 on the above subject matter signed by the Permanent Secretary and addressed to you.

“Mr Chairman Sir, I see this letter as a gross violation and complete usurpation of the powers of the legally constituted board of the only federal health institution located in our dear state and a call to anarchy with attendant lack of trust on the management and governing board of this institution which I refuse to be part of nor allow myself to be used to perpetuate injustice and illegality that has the potentiality of snowballing into unimaginable consequences from staff of the institution and interested members of the general public due to abrupt termination of the ongoing due process put in place by the governing board.

“Mr Chairman Sir, the directives that the current DA vacates office immediately and the appointment of a new substantive DA by the federal ministry of health by fiat, without recourse to the institution Governing Board and the University Act/extant rules and circular earlier quoted, is an aberration and a dangerous precedence in the history of the management of University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

“I wish to, therefore, call on this Board to toe the path of justice, fairness, equity, respect for due process and transparency in the process of appointment of a new DA that will take over from the incumbent when he finally bows out in a few weeks from now and advise the federal ministry of health against this chosen path of disregard to laws and procedures, conflicting directives” he stated.

Dr Bassey noted that the institution already had enough issues to contend with, including cases of national consequences currently in court that originated right here in Calabar and “We should not allow ourselves to be dragged into another one,” he pleaded.

Consequently, the concerned staff of the Institution represented by a legal firm, A. B. Cobham and Associates in a petition to the Chairman of the Board dated August 2nd titled ‘Re: Director of Administration, UCTH: A Usurpation and an abuse of power ‘signed by A. B. Cobham regretted the action of the federal ministry of health.

“A letter dated 19/7/2019 signed by A. M. Abdullahi (Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health) is an affront to the extant laws specifically, University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards) Act, CAP 463, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Section 5 (3) (3) (a) of the said Act stated inter alia There shall be for each hospital a director of administration who shall-(a) be appointed by the board and shall by virtue of the office also be the secretary of the board.

“However, in accordance with the said power, the management did advertise for vacancy for the post of DA in the Guardian Newspaper of Saturday, June 29, 2019. It is also on record that the said process is ongoing as candidates did apply.

“Importantly, the same author of the referred letter had on the 4th July 22019 reiterated the same position of law as posited by us in his letter addressed to you and others tagged Re: Conduct of appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Exercise in Tertiary Health Institution/Agencies but our clients are surprised with this sudden summersault and grievous infraction of the law.

“It is also pertinent to state that at no point did the board meet or appoint a DA as required by the extant law. From the foregoing, we respectively solicit that the said directive should be discarded…If our lawful demand is not met within 2 days from this date of this letter, we shall without further notice to you, institute a legal action in the court of competent Jurisdiction for both legal and equitable remedies.”

When the Chief Medical Director of the institution, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, was contacted, he did not pick his calls and did not reply to text message sent to him, but Barr Ededet Eyoma in a reply to a text message sent to him said, “My brother, my phone was off because of low battery due to multiple congratulatory messages and calls.

“Don’t mind those detractors and enemies of people’s progress. Just join the multitude and congratulate me as most qualified for the position”.

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Age barrier: JAMB tells candidates what to do



The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Saturday advised candidates of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to always read and strictly adhere to instructions contained in the examination brochure before registering for the examinations.

The board’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Fabian Benjamin, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.

Benjamin spoke to NAN against the backdrop of concerns being raised by the public on the fate of some candidates who sat and passed the UTME with high scores, but were not sure of their plight as they did not meet the age requirement.

NAN reports that one Ekele Franklin, a 15-year-old candidate, who reportedly scored the highest at the 2019 UTME, but who may not be offered admissions into University of Lagos (UNILAG), his choice of institution, because of his age, is one of such examples.

According to Benjamin, the board, in its examination brochure, states the age limit for admissions into tertiary institutions in the country, but because candidates hardly read the item, fall victims to the unfortunate circumstance.

“Although universities have different requirements for entries into their institutions, where some may be stern with the age limit, others may be flexible.

”Some schools will never admit one who is not up to the required age into their institutions, even after scoring high marks in the UTME and other examinations.

“It is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, it happens in other countries too,” he said.

Benjamin therefore urged prospective UTME candidates to be cautious and become acquainted with, as well as follow all the instructions stated in the procedure so as not to fall into problems.

He also said that admissions process for the 2019/20 would commence on Wednesday, Aug. 21, as the board was working tirelessly to ensure a smooth process.

Meanwhile,JAMB, on Friday disclosed the result cancellation of another candidate of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.

JAMB said the candidate, Kingsley Unekwe’s result was canceled because he altered his score.

Addressing reporters Abuja, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede said 18-year-old Unekwe was caught inflating his original UTME score from 201 to 269.

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JAMB cancels UTME result of another candidate, gives reasons



The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has disclosed the result cancellation of another candidate of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.

JAMB said the candidate, Kingsley Unekwe’s result was canceled because he altered his score.

Addressing reporters on Friday in Abuja, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede said 18-year-old Unekwe was caught inflating his original UTME score from 201 to 269.

Oloyede said the discovery was made when Unekwe and his mother appeared before some officials of the board in Abuja.

The JAMB Registrar also disclosed that the boy would be handed over to security agencies for prosecution.

According to Oloyede: “Anybody who does post-result infraction will have their results withdrawn by the board.

“You are the fifth person. Two of them are already being prosecuted because we showed them clearly that they forged their results to deceive their parents who are desperate like your parents are to study medicine.

“We will prosecute you for attempting to damage the image of the board. We told your father that we have all the facts, if we find out that the facts are not correct you will be prosecuted.”

The 18-year-old becomes the fifth person whose UTME result was withdrawn and canceled by the board.

Oloyede said the boy edited the original score allocated to him by the board and presented it to his parents as the original result, adding that Unekwe’s parent had called the board, alleging irregularities in their son’s result.

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NITDA, TETFUND seek technologies for quality education



Nigeria’s information and technology agency, NITDA, in collaboration with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), seek to provide emerging technologies in tertiary institutions, to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.

Speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), on Friday, the Director General NITDA, Isa Pantami, said the technologies are important and strategic.

“We are talking about emerging technologies and digitalisation, no longer computers because this is what education requires,” he said.

He appealed to TETFUND to pay more attention to information technology in their intervention across institutions.

The technology boss said this will improve the quality of education given to Nigerian students.

Recall that the IT agency had outlined five new regulatory instruments for the improvement of the Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) in Nigeria.

The regulatory instruments will promote indigenous innovations.

They hope to address various challenges facing Nigeria towards effective ICT adoption.

The NITDA boss said with the presence of digitalisation, there will be less need for physical classrooms in various institutions in Nigeria.

On his part, the Executive Secretary TETFUND, Suleiman Bohoro, said the issue of emerging technologies is one the most important activities of digital inclusion.

Bohoro said there are a number of emerging solutions that are creative and makes learning easier.

“Without the role of IT, there will not be knowledge of the economy,” he said. “This project will go a long way in checking plagiarism in various institutions.”

Below are the areas of cooperation between the Technology and Education agencies.

1.IT infrastructure and development in tertiary institutions- This will help in deployment of information in the institutions.

  1. Human capacity development in tertiary institutions- This is to support training and development of human capacity for Nigeria especially in tertiary institutions in identified areas of critical information technology skills and emerging technologies.
  2. Development of emerging technologies in tertiary institutions.
  3. Digitalisation of services in tertiary institutions: This is towards the improvement of the learning and teaching environment.

5.Project management in tertiary institutions: This is the development of ICT platforms and capacity in the area of management of project in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

  1. IT academy deployment in tertiary institutions: This is the provision of local sources for the development of a specialized information technology academy to sustain the development.
  2. ICT policy development in tertiary institutions: This is to support the development of standard ICT policy and framework.
  3. Emerging technologies and deepening of research and development in tertiary institutions.

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