DEMAND FOR THE PROTECTION OF WHISTLEBLOWERS VICTIMIZED BY FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, ABEOKUTA
Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
In its report of 12th of November, 2016, PremiumTimesng, an online newspaper, revealed the recent action of Governing Council of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in the sacking of three whistleblowers who spearheaded a petition to the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), against the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Olusola Oyewole. The petitioners accused Prof. Oyewole of misappropriation of funds and abuse of office.
The report also revealed the dismissal of another 18 staff of the institution by the Council on the same allegation of whistleblowing. The decisions were reached at a meeting presided over by the chairman of the council, Engr. Adeseye Ogunlewe, on Thursday 10th of October, 2016 in Abeokuta. The affected whistleblowers are Lasun Somoye, Abdulsalaam Sobbor and Bimbo Bankole and all members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU. PremiumTimesng had earlier reported how, based on the staff’s petition, the vice chancellor, Prof. Oyewole and the bursar were quizzed by the EFCC. Surprisingly, while the allegations were still being investigated, the Vice-Chancellor suspended the three petitioners indefinitely. Consequently, the staff were dismissed; outcome from latest governing council meeting which was attended by all members of the council, except the representative of the Federal Ministry of Education.
In reaction to the development, SSANU has written a letter titled, “Repression of Staff For Reporting Corruption Cases to EFCC’ to President Muhammadu Buhari. The union accused the university management of victimizing whistleblowers rather than address the allegations raised in their petition.
In view of this, we hereby demand that the National Human Rights Commission use its office to protect the affected staff human rights as enshrined in the Constitution and African Charter on Human and People’s Right.