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UNICROSS : Governing Council Continues Draining Varsity Finances With 2nd Sitting In Five Days

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A few days ago when the National Executive Council (NEC) for University of Cross River State (Unicross) Alumni Association took the bold step to call for the dissolution of the governing council of the University and directed it legal team to commence legal action against the body for sundry issues, it was hard for some people to understand. But with a second sitting in five working days by the embattled council, those who were in doubt about the wastefulness of the council may now understand better.

On Tuesday April 23rd, the governing council met. The Tuesday meeting was the 4th for the year. But five working days later, yesterday, April 29, the council called what it always described as “Emergency Meeting” without any emergency to talk about, making it five meetings in four months. The meeting lasted for about 1:40. This is in addition to the frequent committee meetings. Under the current council, at least twice in a month, the council must either have a full sitting or a council committee meeting and all of these meetings are funded by the university even though they don’t yield anything reasonable in return.

The two sittings in five days will cost the University millions in members cumulative entitlements and entertainment expenses, with each council member set to pocket hundred of thousands in sitting and other allowances. The university has continued to spend staggering amounts on the council despite it financial struggles. One cannot expressly state whether management’s inability to refuse funding of these unnecessary meetings is a lack of willpower or it’s because it is complicit in the exploitative act.

The University’s dire financial situation is evident in its inability to pay April 2022 salaries and the shortfall of staff in most of the newly established departments due to lack of resources. Yet, the council continues to drain the University’s finances, prioritizing their own interests over the institution’s well-being.

The alumni association has rightly called for the council’s removal, seeking productive individuals who can contribute to the university’s growth, rather than exploiting its finances. And the association is not backing down on this. Therefore, to further expose how much of a burden and a cog in the wheel of progress of the university that this council has become, the NEC has invoked the Freedom of Information Act (2011) and requested that our lawyers obtain the following information from the council:

Records of sittings and sub-committee meetings held between January 2022 and April 2024

Records of allowances paid to council members between January 2022 and April 2024

Details of contracts awarded by the council between March 2022 and April 2024

Procurement plans and approved budgets for 2022-2024

Annual reports and professorial assessment reports for 2022-2024

The letter was submitted by our council today and we expect these documents within 7 days, as mandated by the FOIA. Failure to comply will lead to legal action, including court intervention. Our legal team is already pursuing various cases against the council, and we will not hesitate to file additional suit if necessary.

It’s time for Unicross to move forward and for that to happen, this Governing Council must go.

Ojong Romeo, Esq
National Legal Adviser
Unicross Alumni

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