The Acting Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr. Chris J. Maiyaki recently received in audience the new management of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), earlier renamed by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) as the National University of Science and Technology (NAUST), Abuja, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ahaneku, in his office.
In his remarks, the new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ahaneku thanked the Acting Executive Secretary for the warm reception accorded his team on short notice despite the tight schedules.
He informed Mr. Maiyaki that they were in the Commission to congratulate him on his recent elevation and to formally present the Principal Officers of the AUST, comprising himself as VC, as well as the Registrar and the Bursar.
While briefing the Acting ES and members of his NUC Management on recent development at the University, Professor Ahaneku expressed dismay that the envisaged handover of the asset and liabilities of the University by the previous managers was yet to happen after several meetings.
He informed the meeting that one of the reasons was that the previous managers of the institution had instituted a court case against the current management and the federal government.
The new Vice-Chancellor told the NUC Management team in particular that he held a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. David Andrew Adejo, to discuss the matter, who promised to escalate the matter to the higher authority to intervene and revert to them later.
The Vice-Chancellor, who thanked the NUC Management for their support so far, informed them that he also held a discussion with the Deputy Director, Legal on the court process, who informed him that the suit joined other external bodies besides the federal government. The Vice Chancellor had also informed them that the next hearing would be in the month of September.
The Vice-Chancellor said they were in the NUC to bring to the Acting Executive Secretary up-to-date information on the development and to also discuss some pressing needs that required the Commission’s urgent attention.
He requested the Executive Secretary to kindly approve an office space for AUST in the Commission to serve as a Secretariat before the proper take-off of activities at the institution.
He similarly requested the Commission to intervene to see to it that the backlog of salaries owed the Principal Officers were paid within the shortest possible time.
Responding, the Acting Executive Secretary, thanked the management of AUST for recognising the pivotal role the Commission play in the development of University Education in Nigeria.
He said the visitation was a follow-up to previous contacts and communications, noting that it was one of the visits necessary in the course of the transition process of the AUST to its new status.
He congratulated the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Officers for their appointment to manage the affairs of AUST and expressed his personal conviction in the person of Professor Ahaneku to succeed in the assignment.
This, he said, stemmed from his track records as a former Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Anambra State, where he did creditably well.
Mr. Maiyaki said that the situation in AUST was critical and needed a stable leadership which informed the choice of Professor Ahaneku.
He promised to make the Audit Report on the AUST available to the Vice-Chancellor as soon as possible, but expressed sadness that from the summary of the findings, the University had been mismanaged.
He promised to, as a matter of urgency, discuss further the matter with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education to expedite necessary action.
The Acting Executive Secretary informed the meeting that he would summon the Deputy Director, Legal to brief him on the court proceedings.
On the request for an office space in the NUC to serve as AUST Secretariat, the Ag. Executive Secretary informed the meeting, that a letter had been received to that effect and Management Steering Committee was still discussing to see a suitable place to serve as its temporary secretariat.
He promised the AUST Management that the Commission would stand by them and follow the case to its conclution in order to see to it that the matter was resolved amicably.
On the back log of unpaid salaries, he promised to roll up the matter to the authority for prompt response.
At the meeting was the NUC Director of the Executive Secretary’s Office (DESO), Mr. John Mairafi Ahmadu.