The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi State, has faulted the appointment of Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, as a Professor of Cyber Security by the Governing Council and the management of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).
The association maintained it was not convinced that due processes were followed in the appointment.
ATBU is Pantami’s alma mater where he started his career as a lecturer.
Addressing journalists at the Secretariat in Bauchi, the capital on Thursday, Bauchi ASUU chairman, Dr. Ibrahim Inuwa, said, “Appointing somebody to the rank of professor follows some procedures, to some extent we are convinced that these procedures are exhaustively followed but it is still questionable. But if it is proven beyond reasonable doubt, we don’t have an option other than to acknowledge it but for now, we are really not convinced.
“We had congress on November 4, and we agreed that we should dissociate ourselves from that congratulatory message written by the VC. We have a disclaimer to that effect.”
Inuwa claimed that the Vice Chancellor did not consult the union before going ahead to congratulate the minister on its behalf in “an appointment that is shrouded in a lot of controversies.”
He also faulted the report by the union in FUTO, which cleared the Governing Council and the management of the varsity of any infractions saying the report contained “a lot of holes.”
ASUU argued that according to information available at its disposal, the Minister left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia as a senior lecturer.
“In the case of the Minister, his last appointment in a university, Saudi Arabia was as an assistant professor –is a nomenclature that is used by the Americans. Assistant professor is equivalent to a senior lecturer in Commonwealth countries,” he stressed.
Inuwa said an Assistant Professor must satisfy a waiting period of three years, graduate postgraduate students, involved in university administration and must have been involved in community service to become a Professor.
He argued that the Minister was not in the academic environment within the period and could not have been qualified for the appointment.
SaharaReporters had recently exposed that the Minister accepted the role of Professor of Cybersecurity five months before the institution officially offered him the appointment on August 20, 2021.
FUTO and Pantami have both been under fire by Nigerians over the circumstances which the Minister was promoted to the highest academic rank in the institution.
The minister had been in the news earlier in the year over his past call to Jihad and unalloyed support for murderous groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
“This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria,’’ Pantami was quoted as saying in one of his vicious preaching in the 2000s.
“Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda,” he was quoted to have also said.
In other audio clips that surfaced online, Pantami was also heard as sympathetic to Boko Haram members when delivering sermons at several worship centres in the 2000s.
However, Pantami claimed he had renounced his radical comments and said his views had changed over time. He said he had in the past 15 years been traversing the country to preach against terrorism.
Despite the Minister’s claim, most Nigerians said the minister ought to have resigned due to public backlash and be investigated by the authorities. Should he fail to resign, some commentators said he ought to be sacked by the President.
But the Presidency, in glaring support for Pantami, dismissed the possibility of sacking the controversial Minister because he had allegedly apologised for his radical views.
saharareporters, new york