The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has disclosed that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, went through rigorous processes before his appointment as a Professor of Cybersecurity in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The FUTO chapter of ASUU affirmed that Pantami’s application scaled six hurdles before it was finally ratified by the Governing Council of the school.
It clarified that external assessors were engaged to examine the minister’s publications in order to earn him such an academic job. The internal inquiry, however, confirmed that due process was followed by both the Governing Council and the management of FUTO to appoint him a professor of Cybersecurity in the School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT) of the university.
The conclusion of FUTO chapter of ASUU were contained in the report of a five-man probe panel, which was set up by the union.
The union noted that the investigation was commissioned by the Congress of FUTO chapter of ASUU at its session on September 22, 2021.
Members of the committee included Prof M. S. Nwakaudu (Chairman); Prof G.A. Anyanwu, Prof. C. E. Orji, Prof Mrs. O.P. Onyewuchi, and Prof T. I. N. Ezejiofor (Member/Secretary).
According to the report, Pantami’s appointment was not a shelf job.
The panel listed the procedures adopted to make him a Professor as follows: ‘Copies of advertisement for academic and academic support staff vacancies in FUTO for the positions of Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer among others in the Daily Sun and The Guardian of September 21 and 22, 2020, respectively; ‘Federal Universities of Technology Act, CAP F23 (Section 11, 1-6, and Section 18, 1-2); ‘Students’ Handbook of the Cyber security Department; ‘Guidelines for the appointment and promotion of academic staff for 2020/2021 appraisal year’.
Other procedures are: ‘Submission of publications and productive works for both internal and external assessments; ‘consideration by Academic Staff Appraisal and Promotion Committee- Professorial (ASAPC-Professorial) meeting held on March 17, 2021; and the ‘confirmation of Pantami as a professor by FUTO Governing Council’.
The report said the panel interacted with some vital stakeholders, including the university registrar; the immediate-past chairman, Committee of Deans; the dean, School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT); some deans of schools (faculties), who were members of ASAPC-Professional during the 2020/2021 appraisal year; some internal members of the last FUTO Governing Council and the acting head, of Cybersecurity department, even as the report gave more insights on how Pantami was appointed by the university.
According to the report, “FUTO in her quest to be counted relevant in the modern trends in the fields of science, engineering, technology among others, decided to establish new programmes such as Forensic Science, Software Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Cybersecurity, Radiography and Radiation Science.
“FUTO advertised for vacancies in Academic and Academic Support Staff in six schools (namely SICT, SESET, SOES, SOHT, SBMS and SOBS), and 23 departments including Cybersecurity.
“Vacancies advertised in the academic departments (including Cybersecurity department) are for Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer among others.
“The advertisement was published in the two national newspapers (The Sun and The Guardian), and interested candidates were invited to apply for the position to which they are qualified.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami responded and applied for the post of a Professor of Cybersecurity, and was given a temporary appointment as professor of Cybersecurity in the Cybersecurity department, for which he accepted in writing.
“Pantami’s qualifications include BSc, MSc in Computer Science, and MBA, all from ATBU, and Doctorate in Computer Information System from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom. He is a Fellow and member of some foreign Computer Science professional societies.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami was requested to submit details of his publications and productive works for both internal and external assessments. He complied with the request. His publications and productive works were sent to the dean of SICT for internal assessment for the purpose of establishment of prima facie case for the professorial appointment.
“The dean of SICT assessed the publications and productive works using the FUTO guidelines for appointment and promotion and established a prima facie case for Dr. Isa Ibrahim for him to be appointed a professor of Cybersecurity.
“The prima facie case for him was presented to the Academic Staff Appraisal and Promotion Committee- Professorial (ASAPC-Professorial) meeting held on March 17, 2021. The committee discussed the issue and recommended same for approval by the FUTO Council.