Court Stops Appointment of Prof Armayau Hamisu Bichi as Substantive VC FUDMA

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The National industry court Abuja has stopped the appointment of professor Armayau Hamisu Bichi as the new substantive vice-chancellor, federal university of Dutsin-ma, (FUDMA) Katsina state. The Abusite has learned

The court presided over by Hon. Justice O.O. Oyewumi made the order on Thursday, June 4th, 2020 in a ruling which mandatorily restrained “the defendants, their agents, servants, and privies from giving effect to the appointment of Professor Armayau Hamisu Bichi or any other person as the substantive vice-chancellor of federal university Dutsin-ma, Katsina state.”

Court Stops Appointment of prof Armayau Hamisu Bichi as Substantive VC FUDMA
Professor Haruna Abdul Kaita

Justice Oyewumi made the order sequel to an ex parte application NOS: NICN/ABJ/87/2020 filed by the former Vice-Chancellor of the Institution and renowned professor of Pharmacy in ABU Zaria, Professor Haruna Abdul Kaita which was argued by his lawyer, Bello Ibrahim Esq.

Professor Abdul Kaita, in the exparte application, prayed the court to restrain (1) the minister of education, (2) the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and (3) the Anthony general and minister of Justice “their agents, servants, and privies from giving effect to the appointment of Professor Armayau Hamisu Bichi or any other person as the substantive vice-chancellor of federal university Dutsin-ma, Katsina state.

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“And he (Professor Armayau Hamisu Bichi) be restrained from occupying the office of the vice-chancellor, from performing the duties and functions of the vice-chancellor, and from parading him as the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Dutsin-Ma however, pending the determination of the motion in the notice.”

After listening to the applicant’s lawyer, Justice Oyewumi granted the prayers and adjourned till June 17th to entertain the plaintiff’s Motion on Notice.

Prof Armayau Hamisu Bichi and the FUDMA Crisis

Since its establishment in 2011 and commencement of academic activities in 2012, Federal University Dutsinma (FUDMA) has been trapped in a leadership crisis.

At the start, several petitions were written against then vice-chancellor, Professor James Ayatse, allegedly led to the formation of a visitation panel that later released a white paper.

Thereafter, the federal government terminated the appointments of some vice-chancellors including Professor Ayatse and replaced him with Professor Haruna Kaita who in turn reportedly had issues with the Governing Council under Dr. Marliya Zayyana.

Prof Kaita, on assumption of office, made effort to address major problems in the institution but also found himself at loggerheads with the council almost a year into his tenure as both parties began to accuse each other of undermining authority which affected the smooth running of the institution.

Dr. Zayyana was later said to have summoned a meeting where a decision was reached to suspend Prof Kaita. He however said the action did not hold as the members at the meeting were not duly elected by the university congregation.

Court Stops Appointment of Prof Armayau Hamisu Bichi as Substantive VC FUDMA

Zayyana’s action then was said to have been based on a petition against Kaita that raised several cases of alleged financial misdemeanors.

A copy of the sack letter written to the VC by Zayyana dated 13/4/2017 accused the former of singlehandedly, without recourse to the council, dismissed 160 staff of the university and reappointed others without following due process, and other alleged gross financial misconduct and abuse of office.

However, Kaita has since denied the allegations and approached the National Industrial Court to challenge his suspension. The council later appointed Prof Armayau Hamisu Bichi in acting capacity to fill the vacuum.

Though acting in the university is allowed for only six months, Bichi served for about two years, until pressure forced him to step aside for Prof Baba Kutigi who at the end of his six months, was replaced by Dr. Babangida Dangani. Prof Armayau Hamisu Bichi was recently appointed on substantive capacity.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) and Federal Ministry of Education have made attempts to resolve the lingering situation but to no avail.

Speaking in an interview, Kaita said he was challenging his suspension because he did not commit any wrong, adding “for the past two years, I have been in court to clear my name from all allegations leveled against me by the council.

“My predicaments started because the council was not comfortable with my principles to ensure that things are done reasonably. This brought up the issue of the suspension, which was done to achieve a sinister motive.

“I will continue to pursue the case until justice is done and I am reinstated,” he stated.

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In an interview with Daily Trust, on the lingering crisis and how it affects the administration of the university, the spokesman of the university, Habibu Matazu, said no matter how long the matter stayed before the court, the university would continue to operate and would avoid contempt.

“No matter how long we stayed it’s going to be a contempt of court to do anything differently and we have to be changing VC’s because the law allows six months only for acting capacity.

“I cannot tell how the matter is affecting the university and as far as we are concerned things and activities are going on as they’re supposed to; students are happy and everybody is going about his schedules, nothing has changed.

“This matter did not affect anything at our level. Probably a higher level, one can say it’s affecting the university in the area of sourcing support for the university from agencies and TETFUND. Again six months cannot be enough for a VC to get to know the terrain fully and work perfectly,” he said.

“Everything is fine here and going smoothly even our course accreditation is perfect. Only recently, our faculty of medicine was assessed; resource verification was done and seven other programs were approved,” he added

Sources from the host community however said failure to implement the report of the panel earlier raised by the federal government’s committee further worsened the situation.

Dutsinma United for Peace and Stability Association in a statement signed by its chairman, Sufyanu Ahmadu, said the university was no longer functioning like other normal universities because rules and regulations were being serially violated in areas of staff recruitment, adding that the council itself had compromised.

While appealing for the court to hasten judgment on the matter for peace and an end to the leadership tussle, the association called for the intervention of the federal government to stop the ominous collapse of the university.

According to reports, there have been several petitions against the university authorities before the EFCC, NUC and Ministry of Education from inception to date.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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