Authorities of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) have suspended a lecturer in the institution, AbdulAkeem Agboola, over alleged inconsistencies in the age and names on documents he submitted to the management.
Kola Adepoju, the university’s spokesperson, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that a committee has been set up to “give a thorough look” into the matter.
“As a university we have an internal mechanism through which we address matters of such nature and the first stage is that a committee looks into the matter and that has been done,” Mr Adepoju said.
“The committee has asked that he should be suspended and as we speak he is still on suspension. That is not the end of the case as we would continue in the fact finding and we shall keep you abreast as the event unfolds.”
Mr Agboola, a professor of Mathematics, joined FUNAAB in 1994 using a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letter to authenticate his MSc certificate, according to the university. He then proceeded with it to pursue his Ph.D.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr Agboola celebrated his 58th birthday in 2018, and then his 60th last year; the date of birth on the credentials he submitted to the university, however, reads ‘1965,’ indicating he is 56 years old as of 2021.
Sources at the university told PREMIUM TIMES that the FUNAAB management turned their searchlight on him after they learnt of his 60th birthday celebration last year.
Documents obtained by this newspaper showed that the institution wrote to Mr Agboola on April 13 requesting him to submit his birth certificate or affidavit as well as his MSc and PhD certificates.
The memorandum, with reference number, FUNAAB/R/A/SP.467/1/207, said in the course of a periodic review, it was observed that Mr Agboola did not submit the three documents to the university’s Registry.
“In view of the above development, you are hereby requested to forward the above documents to the Academic Staff Establishment Unit, Unit Building Block ‘A’ on or before Friday, April 16, 2021.”
The request by the university infuriated Mr Agboola. In his response to the university management dated April 16, he said “it is highly embarrassing and worrisome for me to be written that I did not submit my birth certificate/affidavit and M.Sc and Ph.D certificates to the registry.”
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Mr Agboola said he had taken part in two staff auditing exercises since he joined the university and his original credentials were shown to the panels during the exercise and photocopies submitted.
“Apart from my Ph.D certificate which was submitted in 2002, all my other credentials were submitted in 1994 and they have since been inside my personal file in the department, college, and registry without any complaints from the registry.
“I hope someone somewhere is not tampering and playing foul with my personal file in the registry.”
Mr Agboola said consequent upon the request, he is resubmitting the requested documents.
The university described Mr Agboola’s suggestion of his file being tampered with as ‘needless,’ adding that the registry, in its periodic review, typically requests for any document found missing in individual files of staff.
In the response to Mr Agboola dated April 26, the university reiterated that the lecturer submitted a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ letter as evidence for completion of his M.Sc when employed as Assistant Lecturer in 1994, and not a proper certificate.
The university said there was no evidence of a birth certificate submitted.
“In any way, a quick review of the credentials submitted have shown various inconsistencies in the names on them, right from your birth certificate, through your doctoral degree certificate.
“Consequently, there is immediate need for you to explain these inconsistencies as it cannot be safely said that various names on different certificate belong to the same person.
“It also observed that the date on the birth certificate is not in tandem with the 60th birthday celebration you recently had in public space.”
Mr Agboola did not respond to phone calls and text messages requesting for comments.
Gbemileke Ogunroubi, the national president of the Indigenous Students of Ogun State, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that if found guilty, Mr Agboola should be expelled from the institution.
“His high-handedness borders on sadism, coupled with his infamous ramshackle relationship with both students and staff members,” he said.
“Such a person, if found culpable, is not worthy of being found among academicians.
“While we implore the management of FUNAAB, under the leadership of Prof. Felix Kolawole Salako as well as the Academic Staff Establishment Unit to observe due diligence and thoroughly investigate the allegations, we also urge that the issue be referred to relevant quarters for appropriate sanctions.
“We also demand that the findings of the panel that was set up to investigate the allegations be made public and necessary actions taken within the next 14 days.
“Should the management fail to do the needful, our members won’t hesitate to take all legal steps within our constitutional rights to press home our demands.”