By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU),Ile Ife, Professor Anthony Elujoba was quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Ibadan Zonal office over an alleged diversion of N1.4bn, being property of the institution without the approval of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Governing Council of the institution.
New Nigerian reliably gathered that Professor Elujoba’s invitation by the EFCC might not be unconnected with a petition written against him and the Institution’s bursar over an alleged diversion of N1.4bn.
In the petition, Professor Elujoba was alleged to have acted in conjunction with the Bursar of the institution to disburse the sum by paying the staff of the University some entitlements including earned allowance, as well as paying himself furniture allowance of N7m.
Professor Elujoba arrived the Iyaganku Ibadan office of the EFCC with some OAU staff and members of the various unions in the university such as the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), National Association of Senior Staff Union (NASSU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Student Union with placards of various inscriptions in solidarity with the VC at 4.17 p.m.
The ASUU members were led by the Chairman. Caretaker Committee of the union, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, SSANU led by Mr Ademola Oketunde, NASU led by Comrade Wole Odewumi, and NAAT led by Olusoji Adeyosoye with placards having inscriptions such as “EFCC should follow “Buhar’s campaign against corruption, Great Ife workers are not in support of corruption. Probe Omole, not Elujoba, It is not a sin to pay salaries of workers, Professor Elujoba is a man of peace and integrity, OAU workers and students stand by him”, among others.
All the union leaders condemned the invitation of Elujoba instead of the former VC, Professor Tale Omole, who allegedly hid the money in an undisclosed account without paying the staff their deserved entitlements.
NASU Chairman Comrade Wole Odewumi declared that the association had written several petitions to the EFCC in 2015 against the former VC, Bamitale Omole, “but the EFCC did nothing about our petitions bordering on mismanagement of funds and refusal to pay us our allowances”.
“This new VC came and paid us part of the entitlements and some people wrote a petition querrying why he paid us, when they refused to pay us themselves. We are not going to leave this man of peace to the trouble because he has brought a lot of developments to our school in the past five months that he was appointed” he said.
Speaking with newsmen, the OAU Public Relations Officer, Mr Biodun Olanrewaju said the N1.4billion was paid to the staff to settle their outstanding earned allowance.
“The money was discovered to be logged in an account not tied to any project. It was not in the Treasury Single Account (TSA).The staff who knew the money was available but not paid them by the past VC Professor Bamitale Omole were about to attack the Bursar at a meeting, and so she was prevailed upon to pay the money to the staff. The VC never embezzled the money. This is the first time in the history of any university where a Vice Chancellor will be supported by the entire staff unions and students.” he said.
While Professor Elujoba was still being interrogated by the EFCC officials as at the time of sending this story, the OAU union leaders and staff members have vowed to remain in front of the EFCC until the Acting VC was released and “till they are able to know what they are doing”.
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.