…“The allegations are baseless, misrepresented.” – VC ABU
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The publisher of Education Monitor Newspaper, Waziri Isa Adam, has passionately appealed to the Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Prof. Kabiru Bala, to come and clear his name on the allegation of corruption levelled against him.
The publisher alleged that the Vice Chancellor of ABU Zaria acquired a N49 million official car for self, devoid of due process, even as he decried lack of money for basic academic programs, adding that VC’s firm, cronies, wife, son, were involved in scramble for juicy contracts.
The publisher of the paper, who is a lecturer in Department of Mass Communications at ABU, Zaria, had, in his September edition reported that the VC, Kabiru Bala, allegedly targeted ABU for destruction.
In a statement issued by the angry publisher, titled, “Stop beating about the bush, come out clean on the allegations of corruption against you,” Adam challenged the VC to clear his name.
The statement also alleged that the Vice Chancellor “perpetrated corruption, shielded benefactors that squandered N400m, flouts University laws, abuses due process with impunity and applied selective justice for members of the Varsity community.”
The statement noted that the Vice Chancellor, angered by the report, complained that he was not contacted for his own side of the story and requested that the story be retracted and apology offered.
According to the publisher, “While the newspaper was trying to respond to his protest letter requesting him to do a rejoinder on the allegations, the VC quickly rushed to the press with an attempt to blackmail me, that, I could not finish my PhD at the University of Lagos after 11 years, and after having enjoyed a scholarship of about the sum of N1.6m.”
The publisher continued that, “This cheap, newsless and ridiculous blackmail has no relation with the allegations of corruption, which he is deeply enmeshed in.”
The statement added, “What every discerning intellectual or scholar expected him to do as a leader occupying a public office, is that he should respond to the allegations point-by-point, to clear his name, instead of beating around the bush by taking it personal and attacking the reporter out of context.
“To resort to accusing the reporter for not finishing a PhD is nothing other than a simple attempt to distract public attention from the volumes and embarrassing allegations of corruption against the Vice Chancellor.
“It will interest the public to know that there are uncountable number of lecturers, who have spent more than 30 years pursuing their PhD, and there are several others, who have spent more than 18 years pursuing only Masters degree within the ABU, but he has not queried any one of them, but an innocent journalist performing his watchdog function,” he said.
The publisher opined that a typical example of the Vice Chancellor’s demonstration of selective justice is his singling him (publisher) out alone for query in a public domain, adding that subjecting me (publisher) to judgment in the court of public opinion, as if he is the first lecturer in the history of the university that took this long on a PhD programme.
He explained that “It would interest the public to know that he applied for a one-year leave of absence (permission to proceed to his University in Lagos to tidy up his work and do his defence, on his own, without requesting for salary or any form of financial support from the University),” and explained that the Vice Chancellor denied him the opportunity, which is his own right.
He alleged that for sheer wickedness, and only for him to now come out, without fear of God, to mischievously misinform the public that he has failed to complete his PhD program.
“For record purposes, the public needs to know that the Vice Chancellor-turned-dictator, who owes stakeholders of the university a duty to explain his involvement or otherwise in the alleged cases of ongoing corruption in the university, claims that nobody can challenge his authority in the University, as did by Education Monitor, that is why he resorted to adopting flawed steps to blackmail, declare an all-out media war against the Editor-in-chief of the monthly tabloid,” he alleged.
Responding, the Director Public Affairs Directorate (DPAD), ABU Zaria, Awalu Umar, described the entire allegations as baseless and a deliberate misrepresentation of facts to embarrass the personality of the VC, Professor Kabir Bala.
“All these allegations are baseless and deliberately misrepresented simply to embarrass the person of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Kabir Bala, who is widely respected all over the University and beyond as a man of honour and integrity,” the DPAD said.
The DPAD, in a statement he personally signed and made available to our correspondent, also stated that “It is totally false that the Vice-Chancellor acquired a N49 million vehicle for himself without due process.
“The vehicle in question was specifically procured for the Chairman of Board of the University Venom, Anti-Venom and Natural Toxins Research Centre and not for the office of the Vice-Chancellor as alleged. It was procured under the Capital Appropriations 2021 LOT 5C.
“A due process was strictly followed in its procurement as the matter was discussed at the University Procurement Planning Committee. In January, 2021, the Procurement Plan Template was approved.
“The procurement process was undertaken in line with the Procurement Act and a financial bid was opened on 27th May, 2021. The University Governing Council was accordingly informed of the development at its 195th Regular Meeting held on 19th and 20th August, 2021.
“This is not a new practice. In fact, an official vehicle had earlier been procured for the Director of the Research Centre under the 2019 Capital Appropriations. This was in addition to a Utility Vehicle acquired for the centre,” he stated.
On the alleged embezzlement of the ABU Hotels’ N400 million, he stated that, “The Vice-Chancellor has no hand in it. Let me give you a little background for you to understand the case clearly.
“The University Governing Council approved the takeover of the Kongo Conference Hotel (now ABU Hotels) at its 163rd Regular Meeting held from 9th – 11th September, 2015. At its 173rd Regular Meeting held on 15th and 16th March, 2017, the Council received the report of the takeover, renovation, equipping and maintenance of the Hotel.
“And, after exhaustive deliberation on the report, the Council expressed satisfaction that the N400 million allocated as Council Intervention for Resuscitation of the Hotel had been utilized and retired accordingly. So, Prof Kabiru Bala was neither the Vice-Chancellor in 2015 nor in 2017. He came on board as Vice-Chancellor in May, 2020,” the statement added.