Ignatius Ajuru University reacts to Telegraph report
By Elem Kash
The Ignatius Ajuru University of Education has reacted to a report published by the Port Harcourt Telegraph describing it as “a calculated attempt at smearing the image of the Vice Chancellor.”
The Management of the institution said in an official statement dated 16th July 2023 that it “condemns in totality the publication by PHC Telegraph” captioned “How Ajuru’s VC is turning his anger on the Press”.
“The said publication by mischief makers is not only false but a calculated attempt at smearing the image of the Vice Chancellor”, the statement explained.
Part of the statement read, “The Vice Chancellor has the Public Relations Unit that deals with the Press and did not therefore at any time talk with the Press not to talk of blaming them for being responsible for whatever that is transpiring in the University.
“The Vice Chancellor did not dispatch a number of phone messages accusing some journalists of working against him.
“It is not also true that staff hired by the immediate past Vice Chancellor Professor Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele were fired as soon as Professor Onuchuku came on board.
“It may interest PHC Telegraph to know that over 85% of those employed by Professor Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele are still at the University. PHC Telegraph may wish to ascertain this claim.
“Universities like any other institutions, organizations, Agencies are guided by laws, rules and regulations and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education is not an exception.
“There are Administrative Procedures for Staff discipline where due process is followed to a logical conclusion.
“It is therefore sad that PHC Telegraph would think that a matter as serious as forgery by a Lecturer to gain promotion as alleged by the publication would be given a soft landing.
“Members of the public are therefore advised to discountenance the malicious publication by PHC Telegraph laced with lies, falsehood and geared at discrediting the leadership of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.”
The statement was signed by the Deputy Registrar/Public Relations, Ngozi Okiridu
A statement issued by the State Ministry of Education and signed by its current Commissioner, Professor Prince Chinedu Mmom had triggered the report published by the Telegraph that is at the centre of allegations of falsehood raised by the University.
The Commissioner’s statement read inter alia, “The Government of Rivers State has observed with dismay the inconsistencies/ irregularities and flagrant disobedience to the directives concerning the just concluded recruitment exercise at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt.
“Therefore, the recent employment exercise conducted by the management of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt is hereby cancelled.
“All appointment letters issued and received are hereby nullified and the affected persons are directed to return the letters to the office of the Registrar of the Instistition and other employment related properties such as ID Cards in their possession to the office of the Head of Service, Rivers State immediately.
“A proper and credible recruitment exercise shall be conducted in due course.”
The government statement quoted above which was clearly signed by the State Commissioner for Education was dated 13th July, 2023.
We are not however aware that the said statement credited to the Government has either been withdrawn or described as complete falsehood.
Meanwhile, the Port Harcourt Telegraph which has been accused of publishing falsehood says the management of the Ignatius Ajuru University is entitled to its opinion.
The newspaper said through its Publisher, Chief Ogbonna Nwuke, “We do not feel diminished by accusations suggesting that the Port Harcourt Telegraph published falsehood.
“We believe in the right of reply of individuals and institutions and this explains why we have promptly run the response by the University largely unedited.
“As a reputable newspaper, we ran the position of the State government and interviewed academic and non academic staff of the University. We also spoke to some persons in our profession who had earlier done reports on the university.
“We have reported their reactions on events and wholly respected their request to speak under conditions of anonymity.
“We wish to state categorically that those views expressed in quotes are not the views of the Port Harcourt Telegraph. They are the comments of people in the news.
“We are glad that the university statement did not outrightly dismiss the fact that a panel is investigating a lecturer allegedly accused of forgery as one of our sources revealed.
“The University on its part has pledged that it will never provide a soft landing for anyone who may act fraudulently.”
“While we state that we had no intention whatsoever to damage the reputation or image of the Vice Chancellor, our report was anchored primarily on the comments and views of those who spoke to us.
“We hope that our decision to publish the position of the university on our report demonstrates the fact that we have no desire either to rubbish the VC or deny him his right to expression.”
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