The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UniCal), Prof Zana Akpagu, has accused some principal officers of colluding with students to deprive the institution of finances saying such anomaly “must stop under my watch.”
Akpagu spoke amidst controversy that the institution was unwilling to issue certificates to students who were mobilized for the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, programme. The said students had besieged the institution for two days last week.
In his explanation, the VC said the delay was because management had to verify the certificates before issuance, adding, “we have observed massive fee evasion. Certificates have been signed but are being scrutinized by fee portal managers to ensure that only those who have paid are given certificates. The exercise will eliminate the incidence of fake graduates and ensure that only bona fide graduates are awarded the University’s degrees,”
He further disclosed that out of the 433 graduands due for service, only 240 have paid school fee up to date.
He questioned why HODs would “administer exams, mark scripts, present fee payment evaders/frauds and even present their results to Senate for approval?” adding “ Based on Senate approved results, certificates are signed and collected by them. This means we graduate students who have not paid school charges due to acts of commission or omission by you.
“This incidence of financial leakage is aided and abetted by faculty finance officers who either fail to check or outrightly collude with bank officials to issue fake payment receipts. This is how the racketeering operates.
“It must stop under my watch! Last week, I had to stop Medical Lab Science induction ceremony midway to send out fee defaulters who were already wearing academic gowns, in the presence of their parents! Out of 80 whose certificates I had already deceived into signing, only 38 had paid their fees!”
But Mike Inaku, a concerned parent, disagreed with the timing for final screening, adding “the timing of this administrative decision appears punitive and a calculated attempt to inflict psychological pain on several other students who have paid their fees but have become trapped in this unfortunate web.
“The school authorities have been unable to effectively ascertain in this so called verification, who has paid and who hasn’t; and how can’t someone in that school consider that these students will have to travel, some have booked vehicles and flights and now they can’t move, isn’t this insensitivity?”