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Panel Detects N3.5 Billion Irregularities In Taraba University Account

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Panel Detects N3.5 Billion Irregularities In Taraba University Account

The visitation panel to the Taraba State University, on Thursday, said it uncovered financial infractions to the tune of N3.5bn in the university.

The chairman of the panel, Prof. Josiah Sabo-Kente, who addressed journalists in Jalingo on Thursday, the university operated a poor accounting system since its inception in 2008.

He added that the university was being operated below the minimum standards of the National Universities Commission.

The panel, therefore, recommended a total overhaul of the university system.

Taraba State Governor, Agbu Kefas, had, on December 24, 2023, constituted the visitation panel with a 12-point term of reference to identify the challenges confronting the institution.

According to the governor, the report of the panel would enable the government to intervene and reposition the institution in line with the administration’s free education policy.

Passing down the verdict of the panel on Thursday, the panel chairman said, “The university has since inception in 2008 operated a poor accounting system. At a point from 2012 to 2016, the university operated without a cash book, making it difficult to reconcile the financial records of the university, but we used financial experts on the panel to make sense of the financial spending within the period.

“Financial infractions from 2010 to 2023 in the institution reveal significant discrepancies and irregularities, with the total of these amounting to over N3.5bn.

“This underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of the university’s financial management practices, including handling of statutory allocations and internally generated revenue.”

Sabo-Kente said the pattern and frequent turnover in the appointment of the chairman of the governing council without a university administration had adversely affected the institution.

According to him, the university was running 53 programmes with only 36 professors, 45 readers and 59 senior lecturers.

He decried the development whereby some departments had only one professor and 18 non-academic staff, saying such was unacceptable.

Kente further explained that the university faced a notable deficit in academic staff across its faculties and departments, with only 609 tenured academic staff members compared to the 1,819 non-academic staff.

He said, “Out of the number of academic staff, 218 are graduate assistants-in-training and 140 visiting, adjunct or sabbatical staff. This is against the NUC benchmark of 70 per cent academic staff and 30 per cent non-academic staff.”

The panel report also highlighted infrastructural challenges, such as lighting, water shortage, and insufficient medical facilities, among others and called for immediate action to address the challenges.

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