The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has confirmed that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa 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 said Mr Pantami’s application scaled six hurdles before it was ratified by the Governing Council.
It clarified that external assessors were engaged to examine the Minister’s publications to earn the academic position.
The internal inquiry confirmed that due process was followed by both the Governing Council and the management of FUTO to appoint Mr Pantami a Professor of Cybersecurity in the School of Information and Communication Technology, SICT.
The conclusions of the FUTO chapter of ASUU were contained in the report of a five-man probe panel, which was set up by the union.
The investigation was commissioned by the Congress of FUTO chapter of ASUU at its session on September 22nd, 2021.
Members of the committee were (i) Engr. Prof. M. S. Nwakaudu (Chairman); (ii) Prof. G.A. Anyanwu; (iii) Prof. C. E. Orji; (iv) Prof. Mrs. O.P. Onyewuchi; and (v) Prof.T. I. N. Ezejiofor (Member/Secretary).
According to a document, Mr Pantami’s appointment was not a shelf job.
The panel listed the procedures adopted to make Pantami a professor as follows:
“Copies of advertisement for Academic and Academic Support Staff Vacancies in FUTO for the positions of Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, etc., which appeared in the DAILY SUN and THE GUARDIAN of Monday, September 21, 2020 and Tuesday, September 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.
“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 17th March, 2021.
“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 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, Cybersecurity Department.
The report gave insights into how Mr Pantami was appointed by the university.
The report added: “FUTO in her quest to be counted in the modem trends in the fields of science, engineering, technology, etc, decided to establish new programmes such as Forensic Science, Software Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Cybersecurity, Radiography and Radiation Science, etc.
“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 Cyber Security Department) are for Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, etc.
“The advertisement appeared 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 responded and applied for the post of Professor of Cybersecurity. He was given a Temporary Appointment as Professor of Cybersecurity in the Cybersecurity Department, for which he accepted in writing.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim’s qualifications include BSc, MSc in Computer Science and MBA all from ATBU, PhD in Computer Information System from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK. He is a Fellow and member of some foreign Computer Science professional societies.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim was requested to submit details of his publications and productive works for both internal and external assessments. He complied with the request.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim’s 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 Dr. Isa Ibrahim was presented to the Academic Staff Appraisal and Promotion Committee- Professorial (ASAPC-Professorial) meeting held on 17th March 2021. The Committee discussed the issue and recommended same for approval by the FUTO Council.
“The Council at its meeting held on the 18th of March, 2021 approved the prima facie case for Dr. Isa Ibrahim to be appointed a Professor of Cybersecurity.
“Following the approval of the prima facie case, Dr. Isa Ibrahim’s publications and productive works were sent for external assessment.
“The external assessment returned positive and the Council at its meeting of 20th August, 2021 approved his appointment as a Professor of Cybersecurity.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim was given a tenure appointment as a Professor of Cybersecurity following his appointment by the FUTO Governing Council.
“Dr. Isa Ibrahim has assumed duties and is currently involved in the teaching of CYB 201 (Fundamentals of Cyber Security), via online and a lead Supervisor of one PhD Student/Staff of Cybersecurity Department.”
Apart from confirming that Mr Pantami’s appointment followed due process, the panel insisted recommended legal action against those who had allegedly tried to tarnish the image of FUTO.
The report said: “From our findings and evidence before the panel, members are of the opinion that the appointment of Dr. Isa Ibrahim as a Professor of Cybersecurity by the FUTO Governing Council followed due process.
“The panel strongly recommends that the university management should as a matter of urgency take appropriate actions, including legal action, against those who deliberately try to drag the image and reputation of FUTO to the mud.”