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Friday, April 19, 2024

Youths protest alleged nepotism at FUHSO in Benue



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From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi

Youths from Benue state, on Monday halted activities at the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otada, Otukpo, (Otukpo), Benue State, when those from the community protested against what they termed as acts of nepotism allegedly being perpetrated by the Vice Chancellor of University, Professor Innocent Ujah.

The coalition of youths under the auspices of Otukpo Redemption Movement, (ORM), Otukpo Youth Forum, (OYF) and Otukpo Accountability Forum, (OAF), had taken to the streets marching from Edikwu Junction, opposite former Otukpo Stadium to the gate of the university, and bearing placards with inscriptions such as “FUHSO VC runs school as private entity,” “FUHSO VC has no regard to the host community policy on employment,” “No management meeting in FUHSO for four years,” “FUHSO VC and the MD have no regard for federal character principle,” among others.

Leader of the youths, Hon Alechenu Adah, said one of grouse of the youths is the neglect of the host community by the university authority in the area of employment of junior staff.

Even at the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Hon Adah claimed that the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Silas Ochenjele has given out all the available junior positions to his Agatu kinsmen to the detriment of the youths of the community.

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He said the protest will run for 14 days until their demands are met saying “A society that has impartial and effective justice system will eventually become a peaceful society but a society that allows bias in justice system can only create an illusion of peace.
Otukpo district seeks for justice.

“Today, we want to let the world know the nepotistic attitude at Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo and the practical institution; the FUHSO teaching hospital are manifestations of partiality against host community Otukpo.

“Since this imbalance has become a norm which is an aberration from the true justice the world crave for, this act of modern colonialism is evident in appointments at both FUHSO and teaching hospital Otukpo.

He noted further that “FUHSO VC runs school as private entity, no university management meeting in four years.

“Ujah contracts security and environment sections to relations to ensure host community is completely deprived of employment opportunities.

“FUHSO teaching hospital is colonised by the MD and ran by Agatu LG where he hails from. If not, how do we explain this: head of admin, Abalaka Godfrey, Agatu, head of procurement, Edache, Agatu, Chief Nursing Officer, Rebecca Ochoche, Agatu, Chief Accountant, Grace Oduma, Agatu, Chief Pharmacist, Otache, Agatu, Chief Laboratory Scientist, Moses Enokela Omere, Agatu.

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“FUHSO is the most expensive Federal University; this has deprived peasant farmers the opportunity of sending their wards to learn at FUHSO.

“Our prayers are, Professor Innocent Ujah and Dr Silas Ochenjele must go to pave way for independent arbiters to come in and right the abnormalities so as to forestall breakdown of law and order, instill confidence and build trust between the university and the host which will pave way for smooth takeoff at the permanent site.”

In his response, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, DVC Academics, Professor Stephen Abah, thanked the youths for the peaceful protest and promised to initiate dialogue between the university management and the youth leadership to resolve the issues that were raised.

“We will sit down and invite you to come and sit at the table with us and we dialogue.

“Everywhere in the world people want peace. So, if you want peace and I want peace then we don’t have problem again. You don’t need to come here and stay for 14 days. I will respond before 14 days,” Prof Abah said.

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