By Bassey Bassey, Calabar
The University of Calabar has alleged that the suspended lecturer in the department of Philosophy, Mr. Joseph Odok, who is currently serving suspended term for alleged official misconduct, was involved in evasion of payment of school charges in three academic sessions.
Until recently when his program was suspended, Odok was a PhD student in the Philosophy departure of the institution and the evasion allegedly happened within the seven years he spent running the program.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prof. Uche Amalu who is the head of the committee set up by management to investigate the lecturer said in a letter send to the Vice Chancellor, Prof Zana Akpagu, that Odok has no evidence of payment of school charges during the 2016/2017, 2010/2011 and 2009/2010 academic sessions.
Prof. Amalu insisted that before Odok’s program was suspended, he connived with the leadership of his department to get clearance for his defence last year without meeting up the University’s financial requirement to participate in any post graduate defence.
He maintained “There is no evidence of payment of school charges during 2016/2017, 2010/2011 and 2009/2010 academic years and the HOD failed to point these”.
Consequently, Prof. Amalu said “I stand firmly on my initial observations of ‘aiding and abetting gross academic misconduct, abdication of official responsibility and covert complicity of the
Head of Department of Philosophy in evasion of payment of school charges by Mr. Joseph Odok who is both staff and student under this jurisdiction”.
But in his response to a letter from the head of the investigation, the HOD of Philosophy, Prof. Kyrian Ojong denied aiding Odok in his suspected evasion of payment of school charges.
Prof. Ojong noted that “For the avoidance of doubts, I became HOD of philosophy 1st of June, 2015; while Odok started his program in 2010. I could not have aided his evasion of payment of school charges”.
One of the University staff who spoke in anonymity said that “You see, when you want to go to equity you go with clean hands. Odok has so many cockroaches in his cupboard that he shouldn’t even be involved in this kind of fight against the university.
“Those of us who have been here for long can tell you that, he has been very lucky to have still been in the system for this long. I’ve personally begged on his behalf for many times.
“Like this issue of evasion of payment of school charges for some years, it’s a serious academic misconduct. From the documents I’ve seen, there’s a strong suspicion that he may have forged some receipts” he stated.
Interestingly, Odok in any interview with DAILY NEWS on phone on Thursday said that he was a staff on study fellowship and being a staff on study fellowship you don’t pay school fees rather the school pay you N25, 000 benefits for being a staff on study fellowship.
“Staff on study fellowship is paid school fees by the University and not the staff, all the staff needs do is to apply for the school to pay it school fees and the Dean of graduate school will give the student pin
The Institution according to him will pay the student N25, 000 running cost as a benefit for being a staff on study fellowship. He said he does not pay from his pocket. So I don’t know what will make me to go and forged school fees receipt, I have evidence of my school fees receipt from pin generated by the Dean, I have evidence of my clearance from the University.
“This is a matter of witch-hunt, since the Vice Chancellor was invited by the Police for which he has not gone till date. First, the VC alleged that I over paid my PhD and queried my Head of department for which my head of department replied given him details.
“The VC alleged that my head of department aided and abetted my evidence without following University rules and he had replied same with details. “The 2nd allegation was that I did not do my turn-it-in (Process that determine the level of your plagiarism of the work). When you turn in your work, the system generates a receipt for you, now they have left that.
“The next allegation against me was that I failed my defence and I was not qualified to be awarded and I was to repeat. My department clarified this. The last allegations was that my fellowship ought to last for 5 years and I paid for 6 years rather, they queried that, my department came out with a waver which the University.
“There are particular students that paid for 14 years but the University waved to defence and they have been awarded their PhD. There was a particular class mate of mine that is now employed in the department.
“So the question is why the focus on me. Above all, the VC has no right to suspend a student, it is the University Senate that can suspend a student, till now, the Senate has not suspended by PhD but the VC knowing that I was due for convocation, have decided to sit on my PhD with a supported letter of suspension that is not knowing to University Senate”.
On whether anybody from the committee has invited him to defence himself on various allegations leveled against him, he said “I have not heard from anybody, there is no point Prof Amalu talk to me, all I heard was that my head of department was queried and he gave details report”