The Academic Staff Union of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma Chapter, has strongly criticized the claims made by the Special Intervention Team (SIT) that it uncovered instances of academic fraud within the institution. The SIT alleged that 30 students studying abroad had obtained their degrees from AAU due to the undue influence of university lecturers on their examination scripts.
In response to these allegations, Dr Cyril Onognosele, the chairman of the ASUU chapter, expressed his skepticism, dismissing the claims of academic fraud as mere illusions. He demanded that the spokesperson of the SIT, Austin Osakwe, provide concrete evidence to substantiate the allegations. Onognosele called for the publication of the students’ names, courses, departments, graduation years, as well as the identities of the lecturers supposedly involved in the alleged academic misconduct.
The ASUU chairman criticized the actions of the SIT, asserting that they were engaging in activities that were detrimental to the university’s reputation. He suggested that the SIT’s motivations might be driven by a desire to extend its tenure, which officially concluded in March.
“Onognosele stated, ‘In presenting SIT’s progress report to the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Austin Osakue, claimed that SIT had uncovered academic fraud in the University. Further, he alleged that over 30 students schooling overseas had graduated from AAU, Ekpoma, due to the marking of their examination answer scripts by lecturers of the university.'”
The ASUU chapter voiced concerns that such allegations, if unfounded, could severely damage the institution’s credibility on a local, national, and global scale. Onognosele urged for a comprehensive, transparent, and impartial investigation into these claims of academic fraud, which he and many stakeholders believed to be driven by misinformation and ulterior motives.
The ASUU chair emphasized that the ongoing crisis within the university needed to be addressed urgently. He called for the implementation of decisions reached during a stakeholders’ meeting in March 2023, which aimed to resolve the issues plaguing the university. This included the prompt resolution of salary payment discrepancies and the restoration of annual salary increments for staff members.
The ASUU chapter implored the Visitor to the University, the Edo state government, to expedite the formation of a governing council for the institution to ensure its effective functioning and progress. The statement concluded by underscoring the belief that university reformation should not come at the expense of employees’ rights and well-being, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a conducive environment for both academic excellence and staff welfare.