• YABATECH council terminates appointment of 5 lecturers over plagiarism
The Governing Council of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), Lagos, has terminated the appointment of five lecturers for allegedly plagiarising works of foreign authors and misconduct.
The Lateef Fagbemi-led council also dismissed a former Bursar and a Chief Lecturer in Department of Accounting for a different offence.
It was gathered that the council which met early in March took the decision based on the recommendations of council disciplinary committee set by the Governing Council to investigate old cases which the former college management tried to sweep under the carpet.
Investigations further revealed that before the five lecturers were sacked, they were placed on suspension in accordance with the Polytechnic Act.
Among those whose appointment were terminated by the council include two chief lecturers, an equivalent to a professor in the university, one principal lecturer, two senior lecturers and a former bursar/chief lecturer.
The Education Report learnt that one of the sacked Chief Lecturers applied for the then vacant YABATECH rector position but was not shortlisted because of the pending plagiarism case hanging on his neck.
How external assessor exposed the fraud
The Education Report had exclusively broken the news on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. The initial story fingered three lecturers but the governing council decided to also look at old cases, thus two chief lecturers were caught in the web.
The sacked lecturers are in the Electrical/Electronic Department, Chief Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, a Principal Lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering and Chief Lecturer and Director, Physical Planning Unit but in the Department of Metallurgical and another Chief Lecturer in School of Science/Coordinator of UNESCO Research Centre.
The bubble bust when the external assessor discovered that the publications the academic staff submitted as part of requirements for promotion was not original but works of other scholars presented as their own.
The external assssor from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, Mr. O. Olubajo, in his findings made available to YABATECH management dated September 5, 2016, said two of the three journals presented for assessment were plagiarised.
Specifically, Olubajo pointed out that he did not award marks for publication on “Alternative energy option using biomass gasification processes in reactor’s’’ (African International Journal of Applied Research (AIJAR) Volume 1, ISN24x121) because he found out it was plagiarised from the works of A. Bhavanam and R.C. Sastry: Biomass gasification processes in downdraft fixed Red Reactors.
On Publication 1 submitted for assessment, Olubajo said: “I have not awarded marks for Publication 1 above because I found out it’s plagiarised from the work of (1) S.L. Kampe: A method to incorporate green engineering in materials selection and design’’, Proc of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education annual conference and exposition (session 1625), 2002.’’
The assessor’s final comment noted: “I could not in good conscience recommend the candidate for promotion having found out that he submitted two plagiarised works for assessment. Moreover, the works submitted by the candidate span disparate fields of engineering. By now, one would have thought the staff would have specialised in one field of electrical engineering. As a result of the foregoing, I do not consider the staff suitable for the post of Principal Lecturer.’’
Aside the plagiarised publication, the assessor observed that research work included in publication 1, did not merit to be called one stating, “though the work involves a number of laboratory activities, the goals and objectives are unfounded. This clearly demonstrated by the work not citing or referencing any previous works with similar goals and objectives. Moreover, the manner of presentation of the paper leaves much to be desired. E.g., the referencing, the sentence construction, the grammar, the formatting, etc are to a large extent defective.’’
On Publication 2, the LASPOTECH Chief Lecturer again faulted it noting that it was also not a research work but mere presentation of information gleaned from literatures, especially those of vendors of Biometric hardware and software component.
“Nothing in the paper indicates to me that the author originated any new knowledge and/or contributed any significant knowledge in the field of Biometric engineering, especially as applied to national security. This publication also suffers from poor presentation as Publication 1. My overall assessment of the paper is that it is sub-standard and of very low quality considering the present cadre of the staff being considered for promotion,’’ he said.
Curiously, a former top management of the college was cited as lead author in one of the publications submitted for promotion assessment alongside two lecturers alleged indicted However, some members of the academic staff in the college accused the rector’s office of double standard revealing that some lecturers found wanting in similar issue were made to face the Senior Staff
Disciplinary Committee (SSDC) and sanctioned wondering why the one involving the senior person in the rector’s office was overlooked.
Earlier decision of college management
When the academic fraud came to limelight, some staff expressed concern why the former rector swept the case under the carpet. The staff cited that under her administration, lecturers found wanting in similar case were sanctioned.
It was gathered that after delay in acting on the external assessor’s report, the management referred the affected staff to SSDC without suspending them as stated in the polytechnic act.
The recommendation by SSDC that the four lecturers be demoted by two steps generated ripples among the college staff who expected a tougher punishment. The management in the absence of council could not implement the decision and when the Lateef Fagbemi-led Governing Council came on board, the case was revisited.
The council met early March 2018 and approved the recommendations of its committee and at the end, aside the four indicted by the external assessor, one old case of plagiarism was dealt with.
The former bursar, Mr. Akeju was invited to appear before a council committee twice. The Education Report learnt that he failed to do so but informed council that he was indisposed. The council went ahead to dismiss him.
This is the second time Akeju would be sacked for misconduct. He was sacked by the former council and the case was settled out of court under the administration of the immediate past rector.
Akeju, who had less than two weeks to retire (March 20) from the services of the college has already petitioned the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu. Before the rector interview, he took a full page advertorial and alleged certain things against the council chairman.
In the first report of September 19, the former YABATECH Public Relations Officer, Dr. Charles Oni, confirmed the case of plagiarism against the lecturers.
He denied that the immediate past rector shielded the lecturers involved and explained that the absence of the governing council made it difficult for the management to handle the issue because of the calibres of staff involved.
“The final sanction depends on the appointment and promotion committee of council. It is wrong for some people to say the rector sat on the case.’’
When contacted, the governing council chairman, Prince Fagbemi said the council took the deci sion but asked our correspondent to get in touch with the Registrar, Mr. Sikiru Momodu for details.
On Akeju, the council chairman said since he had petitioned the minister of education, he could not comment on it.
Investigations revealed that the action of the governing council is generating mixed reactions among staff and students of YABATECH. For days, the sack remained a subject of discussion among the Polytechnic community.
A senior staff advised the Lateef Fagbemi-led council to beam it searchlight on the certificate scam involving a Federal lawmaker from Kogi state, which the former management swept under the carpet.