The Nigerian Senate, on Tuesday, said the appointment of Dr. Mrs Helen Nyitse as Registrar, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi was
done in violation of the principles of federal character.
In a report of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition presented by its Chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, the upper
legislative chamber also directed that the Federal Character Commission (FCC) should ensure that the principles of federal
character is duly followed in subsequent appointments of principal officers of the institution.
This was sequel to a petition submitted by the Opiatoha K’Idoma, foremost socio-cultural group of the Idoma people of Benue State,
which was laid on the floor of the Senate on Thursday, 3rd November, 2016.
The petition which was signed by Chief Adoka Adaji on behalf of the group, had accused the Federal Character Commission of been
compromised in the appointment of Nyitse.
It argued that, as at the time of appointing the Registrar, the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics) and the Bursar of
the institution were all Tivs, saying, giving approval for the appointment of Nyitse, another Tiv woman as the Registrar was a pure
negation of the extant laws.
The group said, since the inception of the institution, “it has had five (5) Vice Chancellors in all, all of whom have been fromTiv, and
out of eight (8) Registrars the school has had since inception, five (5) were from Tiv tribe, two (2) from Idoma and one (1) Yoruba”.
However, the Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Dr Shetima Bukar Abba, during his defence, told the Senate that the commission
initially denied issuing a certificate of compliance to the University for the appointment of Mrs Nyitse, as three principal officers were
already from the Tiv natiion.
He said that, the pressures from top Benue politicians made the Commission to reverse its decision, with the promise that no Tiv
person would apply for the position of the Vice Chancellor which would be vacant this month.
The Senate, however, condemned the waiver given to the institution by the commission which led to the appointment of Nyitse.
A mild drama occurred when, Senator Tijani Yahaya Kaura (Zamfara North), raised strong contribution in support of Senator James Manager
(Delta South), that the appointment of Mrs Nyitse be reversed as it didn’t follow the principles of federal character.
His position got overwhelming voice supports from other Senators but it was surprisingly overruled by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
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