Qualification: Court Bars Five Rectors From Reappointment

The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the sacking of rectors of five federal polytechnics over their lack of qualification for the position.

The court also restrained the sacked rectors from applying for the same position in the future.

The PUNCH had reported that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics in July 2021 dragged the Federal Ministry of Education to court following the appointment of five “unqualified rectors” for polytechnics newly established by the Federal Government.

The National President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe, who berated the Federal Government over the appointment, noted that for anyone to be qualified to be a rector, such a person must be a Chief Lecturer with a minimum of five years in any of the polytechnics.

The government in 2021 announced the creation of new federal polytechnics in Cross River, Oyo, Plateau, Benue and Borno states.

The federal polytechnics Amendment Act 2019 stipulates that to be qualified for appointment as a rector in any of the polytechnics in Nigeria, such a person shall be a Chief Lecturer and must have not less than five years experience in any Nigerian polytechnic.

The ASUP president had said the rectors appointed fell short of the qualifications stated in the polytechnics act.

In the certified true copy of the court judgement made available to our correspondent on Saturday, Justice Obaseki Osaghae ruled that the appointment of the five rectors namely Dr Terlumun Utser of the Federal Polytechnic, Wannune; Prof Edwin Onyeneje of the Federal Polytechnic, Ohodo; Prof Edward Okey of the Federal Polytechnic, Ugep; Dr Zakari Ya’u of the Federal Polytechnic, Shendam; and Prof Garba Ngala of the Federal Polytechnic, Mungonu were not made in accordance with the law.

It read further, “The purported appointment of the 3rd to 7th defendants by the 1st defendant is hereby set aside as they failed to meet the minimum statutory qualification of the persons who may apply for the post, which shall be a Chief Lecturer in the polytechnic sector with at least five years experience on that position, among other criteria.”

In her ruling, she said, “An Order of Injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants either acting by themselves through their agents or representatives from doing anything whatsoever geared towards maintaining and/or recognising the 3rd to 7th defendants as rectors of the said federal polytechnic.

“An order of injunction restraining the 3rd to 7th defendants from parading themselves or further parading themselves, assuming office or acting in the capacity of rectors of the various affected federal polytechnics while being statutorily unqualified to apply for the post of a rector of a federal polytechnic.

“The 3rd to 7th defendants are hereby restrained whether by themselves, their servants, agents or privies or otherwise howsoever from submitting themselves or applying for appointment for the post of a rector of any federal polytechnic not being statutorily qualified for such appointment. Costs in the sum of N500,000 is awarded the claimants.”

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