The management of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State, has cleared the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Francis Otunta, of allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him by a female staff of the institution.
It disclosed that the allegation was a product of frustration and vendetta by the said staff because she was disciplined in line with the extant rules of the university.
In a statement signed by the Registrar and Secretary to Council, Mrs Jacinta N. Ogwo-Agu, MOUAU declared that Prof Otunta “at no time or place did harass physically or sexually the said Dr. Mbah as he has no need to do so.”
The university was reacting to allegations of sexual harassment by Dr. Patricia Mbah as published in national dailies.It explained that Dr Mbah alongside more than 100 other staff was recently “properly placed from her previous unmerited position in line with the approval given by the Council at its 21st emergency Meeting held from Monday, May 13 to Thursday May 16, 2019”
It also disclosed that Dr Mbah’s salary was “suspended after she travelled abroad and absconded from her duties without due authorisation. In line with the rules of the University, her immediate superiors reported her absence from duty”.
The university wondered why Dr Mbah should resort to blackmail of sexual harassment simply because she was disciplined and properly placed as authorised by the Governing Council of the institution.
The action of the Governing Council was informed by a deluge of petitions against the arbitrary and skewed promotions and appointments carried out by the last administration without regard to extant laws governing same which the Federal Ministry of Education directed the Governing Council to handle as infractions committed by the Hilary Edeoga administration”, the University averred.
MOUAU, in the statement maintained that all staff under her employ must obey the rules in the university no matter how highly placed. Except Dr Mbah is no longer a staff of the University, she must subject herself to the extant rules governing her employment including promotions and discipline”, it submitted.
The university however declared that the Vice Chancellor, Prof Otunta is ever ready to defend his innocence “before any lawful and properly constituted body that either the Governing Council of the University or Federal Ministry of Education and our own Ministry of Agriculture may deem fit to set up to investigate the unfounded foundation”.