A committee set up by the Ebonyi State Government to investigate the sack of over 63 staff of the state university commenced sitting on Monday with a pledge to be fair to all parties.
The management of Ebonyi State University had last month sacked 63 lecturers and staff of the institution for various offences ranging from ‘doubtful’ certificates to multiple dates of birth.
Their sack followed recommendations in an audit report by a committee set up by the university’s governing council.
Following the sack, the state’s executive council set up the committee to investigate the matter.
The committee is headed by the state Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Emmanuel Onwe.
Other members of the committee include the Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House Abakaliki, Fidelis Okpata and Commissioner for Education, Sabinus Nwankwegu.
It held its maiden sitting at the mock Parliament Chambers, inside the main campus of the institution in Abakaliki.
The exercise was attended by many of the dismissed staff and the university management.
Mr Onwe noted that the sack of the staff was not politically motivated as being speculated. He said all concerned will get justice.
“I do not believe that anybody is here to victimise. One of the hallmarks of every institution that has grown to become historically great is to exercise discretion and to show compassion in every decision and that display of compassion is what the governor of Ebonyi State holds dear.”
“We have seen the thoroughness with which the university did what they did, we have also seen the human impact and we have also seen the individuals that came to throw more light to what happened. All of these things are the factors we are going to take into account,” he said.
The official refused to give a hint of what the committee’s final recommendation will look like.
“We are not here to preempt the decision of this committee. We are here on an assignment, an assignment we are going to exercise with utmost ethical considerations and professionalism and we are going to present a report to the Executive Council of Ebonyi State and a final decision will be made by the chairman of that council and a visitor of this university,” he told journalists.
Earlier, Chairman of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of the university, Emmanuel Obo said ”the atmosphere in the institution was unconducive following the sack of the lecturers and staff”.
He said the union had to declare industrial strike over the action.
He, however, announced that the strike has been suspended yesterday following the setting up of the committee.
“After due process, the union saw the process the governor is making. In line with some of the requests we made before him, one of them is this public hearing, the union, as a result of that, had to respect the state Governor, because he requested that we should suspend the strike to allow this process to continue,” he said.