The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Monday disclosed it is setting up a committee to investigate how the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Ali Pantami was appointed Professor of Cyber Security by the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).
ASUU President Prof Emmanuel Osodeke made the disclosure while briefing journalists in Abuja.
According to Osodeke, the controversial appointment of Pantami by FUTO followed advertisements in some national dailies on September 2, 2020, with Pantami purportedly applying for and being awarded the position.
Osodeke expressed displeasure over the issues and noted that the minister was only promoted to the rank of Lecturer 1 in 2013 before he left the country.
According to him, the minister allegedly skipped three positions – Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, and Professor – with each position requiring at least three years of experience.
Prof Osodeke said that information at his disposal revealed that the minister resigned from the Abubakar Tafewa Balewa University Bauchi in 2015 and moved to a University in Saudi Arabia as an Assistant Professor, the equivalent of an Assistant Lecturer in Nigeria.
The ASUU president also recalled that Pantami left academia to become the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in 2016.
‘There are serious doubts and unanswered questions bordering on the qualification of Dr Isa Pantami for the position,’ he said.
‘The attention of ASUU has been drawn to the controversy generated by the recent appointment of Dr Isa Pantami, the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as a Professor of Cyber Security by the Federal University of Technology Owerri,’ he said.
‘From 2013 to 2016 when he ceased to be an academic is just three years which means if Futo said he is right, it means the man moved from becoming Lecturer 1 to becoming a Professor within three years which is against all rules.
‘In view of the foregoing and having rejected FUTO Committee’s report, NEC set up an independent committee to go to FUTO to investigate fully and get all the data so that we can put it to the public, the role of FUTO on how this person who spent three years during Lecturer 1 and Professor, how did he become a professor.’
The ASUU president assured Nigerians that the outcome of the probe would be made public.
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