From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Thursday commenced legal action against President Muhammadu Buhari over the appointment of five Rectors for the newly established Federal Polytechnics.
In the suit marked NICN/ABJ/117/2021, ASUP through it’s leadership has asked the National Industrial Court in Abuja to set aside the purported appointment of the rectors on the grounds that they lacked the minimum statutory qualification for the position having not attained the position of a Chief Register prior to their controversial appointment.
The five rectors whose appointment are being challenged by ASUP are; Dr. Terlumun Utser (Federal Polytechnic, Wannune, Benue State); Prof. Edwin Onyeneje (Federal Polytechnic, Ohodo, Enugu State); Prof. Edward Ntue Okey (Federal Polytechnic, Ugep, Cross River State); Dr. Zakari Mikaiyu Ya’u (Federal Polytechnic, Shendam, Plateau State) and Prof. Garba Mohammed Ngela (Federal Polytechnic, Mungonu, Borno State).
But in the suit filed by the leadership of the union led by it’s president, Anderson Ezeibe, the court is been urged to grant an order restraining them from 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 polytechnic let alone being appointed to hold such office.
The claimant is further seeking an injunctive order of the court restraining the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), from swearing them as rectors of the newly established federal polytechnics in Nigeria or doing anything whatsoever geared towards maintaining and/or recognizing them as such.
Besides, the suit filed by Solomon Umoh (SAN), for the claimant is further seeking an order of court restraining the newly appointed rectors from submitting themselves for appointment for the position as they are not statutorily qualified for such appointment.
That by the provision of section 8(2) (a) (i) of the Federal polytechnic (Amendment) Act, 2019, a person for the position of a rector shall be a Chief Lecturer in the polytechnic sector with at least five years experience on the position amongg other criteria.
That whether having regard to the provisions of section 8(2) of the Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Act, 2019, the president is obligated to appoint a Rector of any federal polytechnic, including but not limited to the defendants in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
Meanwhile, when the case was called on Thursday, counsel to the claimant, Solomon Umoh (SAN), told the court that the case was slated for hearing and that the 1st and 2nd defendants have been served.
However counsel to the defendants, Pascal Ike informed the court that he just received the originating processes and needed time to respond to them.
He consequently, applied for an adjournment to enable file the necessary response.
It was on this note that the court adjourned the matter to December 15, for hearing.
Before that, the court ordered parties to file and exchange their processes before the next adjourned date.