Group Calls On Prof. Florence Obi, UNICAL VC to Investigate Criminal Breach Of Trust

…Says UNICAL Has 14Days to Resolve Impasse Or Risks Legal Redress

The Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a lagos based Non Governmental Organization has called on Professor Florence B. Obi to urgently investigate with a view to finding solution to a criminal breach of trust by the University of Calabar against Isioma Aninyem, a Nigerian, trading under the name and style ,  Michael Hull Services, an educational services company that is primarily involved in sourcing and supplying of educational materials, particularly journals, to educational institutions.

SEJA also handed down a fourteen days ultimatum for the university authority to make public the finding of the report of the in-house investigative pane which it reliably gathered was set up by the institution’s leadership in 2019 to inquire into the impasse as failure to do so will compel the organization to seek legal redress against the University of Calabar.

This was contained in a recent statement jointly signed by Barrister Emmanuel Nwaghodoh, the Group’s National Coordinator and Jerome Mario Utomi, Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), and made available to newsmen in Lagos.

According to SEJA,  Isioma Aninyem’s ordeal in the hands of the successive University of Calabar leadership, commenced in 2014 (9 years), when the University authority used what qualifies as trickery and deception to obtain from his organization, sets of academic/research journals to the tune of N1, 034,700 (One Million and Thirty-four Thousand, Seven Hundred Naira Only) from the organization.

Giving details, the rights advocate insisted that they reliably gathered from their client, that the then university librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) Ruth Simon Bassey contacted Michael Hull Services, in the aforementioned year – to provide academic/professional journals to the university library in preparation for the accreditation of the academic programs of the university by the National University Commission. Dr. (Mrs) Bassey, had assured that immediate payment would be made after the delivery of the journals to the university.

The statement stressed that the University pleaded with their client to grant the credit to the university even though this was against the practice in the firm. The organization agreed and supplied the journals to the university library.

Unfortunately however, to this day, the organization has written and appealed to the bursar, vice-chancellor, accountant and the university librarian to pay the money as promised, but the appeals never yielded any result
The statement read in part; ‘In 2015, Isioma demanded payment, but was informed by the school Bursar that the invoice was being processed. In 2016, he called again that he had not been paid; she stated that the university and the former university bursar were having legal issues in court and that he would be paid after the case. She later called him (Isioma) to say that a new university bursar had been appointed and that I would be paid.

“But contrary to that promise, when he called the new university bursar, she stated that she was unaware of the non-settlement of that invoice. He sent the details to her but nothing was done.

“As if that was not enough woes, ‘in 2018, the university bursar sent a message to my telephone stating that the contract was awarded by the former university vice-chancellor and funded or paid for. I quickly informed Dr. (Mrs.) Simon Bassey of the new development but she immediately denied the bursar’s claim and told me she had met her on several occasions to advance my case.

“She went further to inform me that it would be false, and sent this Payment Voucher Number: Michael Hull, PV, 158 of 14th Jan, 016 # 906,865.50. This was likely to reassure me that there was no payment made to anybody. I forwarded the message to the bursar, but she refused to state the person the payment was made to.  I wrote to the vice-chancellor of the university, demanding and appealing to him to pay me. There was no response from him’’.

Continuing, the statement underlined that “In 2019, the university librarian, Mrs. Nkoyo Edem called Isioma to apologize on behalf of the university and appealed to him not to take legal action against the university, and that he should forward a copy of the original invoice of the supplied journals to her for onward processing. Our client did as directed, but unfortunately, the university has refused to pay him or even reach out till today.

It is on this note that SEJA passionately requests the prompt intervention of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Florence Obi on this matter that has lingered for too long.

On the other hand, SEJA will like to state unequivocally that it is out to explore every avenue to achieving peace in this matter. But neither the organization nor its client shall become a victim of peace in the present circumstance. The Group concluded

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