Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
A lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Osun State, Barrister Omolade Matthew, has decried the interdiction sanction meted out to him over allegation of plagiarism levelled against him by the school management.
In a letter addressed to the registrar of the polytechnic by his lawyer, Mr Soji Oyetayo, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent in Osogbo, Matthew also alleged that the letter of interdiction issued to him on May 18, 2020, was ‘unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and null and void.’
The lecturer was said to have been banned over the allegation of plagiarism levelled against him by the polytechnic.
He contended that the registrar lacked the power to issue the letter, alleging that he (the registrar) was acting under the influence of the rector to punish him unnecessarily.
The lecturer insisted that he had never committed any offence to warrant interdiction because the plagiarism allegation against him had not been substantiated in any way.
He argued further that the report of the Investigation Committee was not made known to him, nor forwarded to the governing council before the letter of interdiction was served on him.
He, however, threatened to take legal action against the registrar and the rector if they failed to withdraw the letter of interdiction served on him within 24 hours after the receipt of the letter by his lawyer.
The letter written to the registrar by the lawyer reads in part:
‘Our client could clearly see the handwriting on the wall that you were acting under the influence of the rector of the polytechnic who is hell-bent to frustrate and punish our client for an unknown offence.
‘The plagiarism talked about was just a figment of the imagination of the said rector. Our client submitted more than the required publications for his promotion from Lecturer 1 to the position of Senior Lecturer in line with 2013 Scheme of Service for Lecturers’ promotion.
‘The plagiarism alleged is in one of the conference papers which had not even been published but a conference paper prepared by our client for the purpose of the postgraduate seminar during his master’s programme at the University of Ibadan in 2009.
‘The question that arises now is, from where did the allegation of plagiarism come? Up till now, this fact had not been made known to our client other than the said rector who is witch-hunting our client.
‘Under the Federal Polytechnic Act of 1979, it is only the Governing Council of the Polytechnic that has the power to punish, terminate and/or issue any letter of interdiction after our client might have been afforded the opportunity of fair hearing and the report of such hearing deliberated upon at the council meeting.
‘As the Registrar of the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, you have no power whatsoever under the Act to issue a letter of interdiction to our client. Your said letter referred to above is not only ultra-vires but also unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and null and void.’
But a statement issued on behalf of the polytechnic management by the Public Relations Officer, Mr Sola Lawal, debunked claims by the lecturer and his lawyer, insisting that he was guilty of plagiarism.
The statement indicated that an external assessor discovered that he plagiarized his work for his 2018 promotion exercise from Lecturer 1 to Senior Lecturer.
It added that after the discovery, the external assessor printed the document and subjected it to an application that checked the percentage of plagiarism which came out to be 100 per cent plagiarized.
According to the statement, an investigative committee was set-up to give him a fair hearing and after the conclusion of the investigation, it was revealed that three of his papers were 100 per cent plagiarized.
The recommendation of the committee was sent to the management, and it was at that point that management decided to interdict him, pending the time the council would converge and take a final decision on the report of the investigation committee.
The statement also claimed that the employment of the rector’s son in the institution followed due process, noting: “When the then Director, Innovation Technology Centre (ICT) Dr Joseph Petinrin, the Deputy Rector Academics, prepared and proposed the establishment of the centre, the names of six members of staff including Mr Goodness Edaogbogun (the rector’s son) were presented to the management and duly approved by the council after screening by the panel of interviewers set up by the council.
The statement also indicated that Edaogbogun was well qualified at his point of entry with the following qualifications: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in view, Masters of Science in Physics, Bachelor of Tech Degree in Science and National Diploma Certificate.
The statement also claimed that the rector’s wife, Mrs Adekolawole Joke deserved the promotion, noting: ‘Mrs Adekolawole was appointed as Assistant Executive officer in May 2013, despite being an HND certificate holder. She was promoted to executive officer (Account) on 1st January 2017 with her additional qualification, BSC (Accounting). She was regarded appropriately to Accountant II with minimum financial benefit on CONTEDISS 8 step 6 on 19th September 2018 along with other members of staff. She is currently a senior accountant on CONTEDISS 8 and not CONTEDISS 11 as being rumoured.’