A damning report has revealed how the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, followed an illegal and fraudulent process in the appointment of terror-linked Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, as a professor of cyber security.
The report, conducted by a six-man committee of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and obtained by SaharaReporters on Monday, exposed how three deputy vice-chancellors intimidated ASUU FUTO congress by their presence at a meeting where Pantami’s issue was discussed, ensuring a professorial fraud.
The six-man committee is headed by Daniel Gungula, with the report dated February 12, 2022.
SaharaReporters observed that the committee in its report made recommendations that Pantami’s professorship was a fraud and should be discountenanced.
The report said, “After exhaustive interactions with relevant stakeholders, the committee wishes to observe as follows; one the immediate past chairperson, Dr Chris Echereobia, failed to guide the branch excos (Executive Council) and congress adequately. Information and directive from the zone were not properly relayed to the exco members.
“The issue of due process as regards the promotion of Dr Isa Pantami to the rank of a professor should not have risen in the first place because he was not qualified to apply for the position of the professor of cyber security in FUTO. His PhD could just earn him Lecturer 1. At no point was he a senior lecturer, not to talk of a reader (associate professor).
“The appointment of Dr Isa Ibrahim (Pantami) as a professor of cyber security by FUTO council did not follow the rules and regulations of the university and did not conform to the condition specified in the advertisement.
“Based on the findings above, the committee wishes to recommend to NEC as follows; NEC should reject the appointment of Dr Isa Ibrahim as a professor of Cyber Security since he was not qualified and due process was not followed in the appointment. NEC should direct her members not to recognise, accord or treat Dr Isa Pantami as a professor of cyber security. NEC should sanction all individuals who participated or facilitated the illegal appointment and promotion exercise.”
US-based professor, Farooq Kperogi, also highlighted further findings in the report.
He said, “Pantami has no office in the Department of Cyber Security, and the HOD has never seen him. Contrary to FUTO’s tradition where a committee of deans examines professorial appointments, only one Professor G.A. Chukwudebe examined Pantami’s application. But Chukwudebe is NOT a professor of cyber security; he is a professor of electrical engineering.
“Pantami was ‘promoted’ (yes, PROMOTED) from Reader to Professor even though he was never a Reader anywhere in the world. He was Lecturer I at ATBU and an early career Assistant Professor (equivalent to Lecturer I) at the Islamic University of Madinah. ASUU members who participated in Pantami’s professorial fraud should be suspended from the union for a year, and the VC, Nnenna Oti, should be suspended from the union indefinitely.”
SaharaReporters had reported that the FUTO alumni association said the award of professorship on Isa Patami was inappropriate.
This was contained in a statement co-signed by Kingsley Azuaru, National Secretary, and Ndubuisi Chijioke, National President of the association.
The association had said ASUU was right in advising FUTO management to reconsider the appointment.
“FUTO Alumni Association reaffirms her position that the professorship of Pantami was inappropriate
“FUTO Alumni Association appreciates the national body of ASUU and the local chapter for jointly condemning the appointment of Pantami as a professor in FUTO.
“NEC also considered the unresolved issue of the appointment of Dr. Isa Pantami as a Professor at our alma mater and has taken note of the National ASUU position.
“The National Secretary, therefore, reaffirmed FUTO alumni association’s position that Pantami’s appointment was inexplicable and questionable,” it had said.
Instead of reviewing the professorship, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nnenna Oti, said the management had gone to court over the rejection of Pantami’s promotion to the rank as a professor of Cyber Security by the institution.