By Foday Moriba Conteh
At the well-attended General Assembly of Staff and Students held on Tuesday, 6th December 2022 at the Milton Margai Technical University Great Hall, Goderich Campus, the Milton Margai Technical University Court has exonerated the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University Prof. Philip John Kanu from allegations made against him by former staff of the university. This pronouncement was made by the Chancellor of the university Dr. Victor Kabia.
It could be recalled that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry
of Technical and Higher Education, Gilbert Cooper, in a letter suspended the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University Prof. Philip John Kanu and requested the University Court to investigate him.
Addressing the gathering on the outcome of the court meeting, the Chancellor of Milton Margai Technical University Dr. Victor Kabia said the University Court was properly constituted and independent, that MMTU was established by the University Act 2021 and is administered on structures, that the Court has established various structures as well as developed committees to address issues as and when they arise.
He also encouraged staff to upgrade themselves as recommended by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) which pointed gaps in staff capacity, lamented that some staff absent themselves for months, while others conduct lectures and examinations at home with others employed in two jobs or take leave or study leave without approval or reference to their conditions of service.
Highlighting some of the challenges facing the institution, Dr. Kabia, observed that some lecturers wanted to disrupt the comprehensive examinations, non-payment of backlog arrears owed to the institution by Government for over three years, difficulty in accessing Government grants-in-aid, land grabbing, late payment, non-payment of staff benefits of Le.26.6 billion and payment of rent allowances to staff due to the lack of funds.
He went on to identify flaws in the University Act 2021, revealed that the Vice Chancellor and Principal of MMTU, Dr. Philip John Kanu has fulfilled all the conditions to serve in the capacity including mobilizing resources and assured that he would continue to do good works for the institution.
The Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie said Government has secured funding to rehabilitate the University, called for classes to commence now as he wants MMTU to do well underscoring that Sierra Leone has high-quality students citing those who just returned from India where they excelled in a global competition.
He also reiterated that MMTU would grow after the upheavals, that students have the right to belong to political parties of their choice, that Sierra Leone is not doing badly compared to other countries in the world and is effectively managing its resources and economy and appealed to all to bury the hatchet as he wants the administration to start functioning immediately.
In his statement, Dr. Philip John Kanu affirmed that he wholeheartedly accepts the report of the Committee, that he would return to the MMTU with an open heart and would not offend anyone as MMTU is close to his heart, that the committee is competent, that the President has demonstrated true leadership and apologized for the hate speech audio that went viral emphasizing that everything is past and is looking towards the future and has also forgiven the lecturer who rebelled against him.
He also assured students that he is back to seek their welfare and protect them, that while on suspension people called and insulted him and even his mother, assured that he would not mention any of the issues that caused the disturbances, that the future is in their hands and appealed to lecturers to do their work diligently asserting that even in his absence the institution was effectively managed as the World Bank and other delegations visited the MMTU.