The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has inaugurated a committee to probe the professorial award by the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami.
ASUU president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, made this known on Monday while briefing newsmen on the development in Abuja.
He noted that the controversial appointment of Pantami by FUTO followed advertisements in some national dailies on September 2, 2020, which made Pantami purportedly apply for the position and was thereafter given the position.
Expressing displeasure over the issues, the ASUU president noted that the minister was only promoted to the rank of Lecturer 1 in 2013 before he left the country.
According to him, the minister allegedly skipped three positions – Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, and Professor – with each requiring at least three years experience.
Professor Osodeke said information at his disposal revealed that the minister resigned from the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi in 2015 and moved to a university in Saudi Arabia as an Assistant Professor, which is an equivalent of an Assistant Lecturer in Nigeria.
According to Osodeke, Pantami left academia to become the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in 2016.
“There are serious doubts and unanswered questions bordering on the qualification of Dr. Isa Pantami for the position.
“The attention of ASUU has been drawn to the controversy generated by the recent appointment of Dr. Isa Pantami, the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as a Professor of Cyber Security by the Federal University of Technology Owerri.
“From 2013 to 2016 when he ceased to be an academic is just three years which means if FURO said he is right, it means the man moved from becoming Lecturer 1 to becoming a Professor within three years which is against all rules.
“In view of the foregoing and having rejected FUTO Committee’s report, NEC set up an independent committee to go to FUTO to investigate fully and get all the data so that we can put it to the public, the role of FUTO on how this person who spent three years during Lecturer 1 and Professor, how did he become a professor,” he said.
The ASUU president assured Nigerians that the outcome of the probe would be made public.