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Governing Council clears MOUAU VC, Prof Otunta of sexual harassment

Akinbiyi Akeem

Feb. 12, 2020

The Governing Council of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, has absolved the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Otunta, of sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by a female lecturer of the institution.
Recall that a staff of the Institution, Dr Patricia Mba, had petitioned the council and accused Otunta of abuse of office and alleged sexual harassment, while another lecturer, Dr Nelson Udenze, prayed the management to suspend him for alleged infractions against the institution’s regulation.
The VC, in the allegation, was accused of impregnating a 300-Level student of the university and caused her to travel abroad to cover his track.
But, the governing council in a statement signed by its Chairman, Lawal Zayanna, on Tuesday after the end of its meeting, described the petitions as “frivolous, malicious and unfounded.”
According to the council, its decision to absolve Otunta of the allegations was reached at its emergency meeting where it examined all the issues raised and concluded that the allegations were frivolous.
The council noted that Mba’s allegation of sexual harassment against the vice-chancellor could not be substantiated when she was interviewed by the council.
The council also absolved Otunta on allegation of putting a female student of the university in a family way.
The statement read, “Prof. Francis Ogbonnaya Otunta did not at any time put any student in the family way, promoted her from third year to final year, graduated her without due process and sent her abroad to cover the act.
“The petitions were targeted at casting aspersions and damaging the image of the university and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Otunta.”
On Udenze’s petition where he called on the Minister of Education to intervene to save the university from collapse because of alleged infractions by the VC, Zayanna said the council was not aware of any misdeeds as alleged by Udenze.
“He (Udenze) has not at any time tendered any petition to the council on any area of disagreement with the council, his call for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Otunta, from office constitutes an embarrassment to the council and unexpected of a member of staff of his status,” Zayanna said.
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