Outgoing VC remains silent on travails of lecturer Uniuyo unjustly sacked

The outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Enefiok Essien, on November 26 held a valedictory press briefing where he reeled out the achievements of his administration, but clearly failed to speak on the travails of Inih Ebong, an associate professor of theatre arts, unjustly sacked 18 years ago by the university.

Mr Ebong, 71, was victimised for speaking out against corruption and maladministration in the university. He has been out of job for a period and unable to fend for himself and his family.

He was recently diagnosed with cardiac failure and his medical treatment taken up by a Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola.

Three successive administrations, including that of Mr Essien, refused to reinstate and compensate Mr Ebong, despite court orders directing his reinstatement.

The outgoing vice-chancellor did not respond to calls and a text message asking for comment.

Mr Essien’s five-year tenure is ending on a controversial note as the university’s governing council is split over who succeeds him as the next vice-chancellor.

Mr Essien, who leaves office December 1, has denied the accusation that he foisted his successor on the university.

His successor is Nyaudo Ndaeyo, a professor of Agronomy, who served as deputy vice-chancellor (administration) under Mr Essien.

Mr Essien listed among his achievements, the building of a filling station and the laying of asphalt on the access road of the main campus of the university.

“As a lawyer that he is, I expected he would be better than the others before him. But he has shown that he is still as vindictive as the others,” Des Wilson, a retired professor in Uniuyo’s Department of Communication Arts, said of the outgoing vice-chancellor, Mr Essien’s handling of Mr Ebong’s case.

“I think it is by the grace of God that he (Ebong) is still breathing.

“He needs some more care. The little we have been chipping in is very inadequate, especially for a wife that is not working, and the children are in school,” Mr Wilson said.

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Inibehe Effiong, a human rights lawyer, who travelled from Lagos to Uyo in October, to visit the ailing lecturer, appealed to the outgoing vice-chancellor, Mr Essien to do whatever he could to help the ailing lecturer.

“I am appealing to Professor Enefiok Essien, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who was my dean when I was a student in the faculty of law, to please temper justice with mercy.

“I know this did not start in your time, but history will remember you if you resolve this case.

“You don’t need to spend money on litigation, the money you could use in building and equipping libraries for the students,” the lawyer said.

Mr Ebong has been receiving lots of goodwill and financial support from Nigerians nationwide since PREMIUM TIMES published the story of his illness.

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