For allegedly aiding a PhD student in plagiarism, some senior academic staff of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, have come under the hammer of the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Abdullahi Bala.
Speaking with journalists in his office recently, the Vice Chancellor Prof Abdullahi Bala, disclosed that the indicted staff, which include a Professor in the department of Urban and Regional Planning under the School of Environmental Technology, who is also a former deputy vice chancellor in the institution along with three other professors are being sanctioned by the authorities of the institution for what he described as “gross act of plagiarism involving a PhD student, Mr Olateju Mukaila Ademola.”
He said that the act was perpetrated with the connivance of the Mr Ademola’s three supervisors.
“The shameful act was discovered by a staff of the Department of Regional Planning who noticed the similarity in the student’s PhD thesis with that of Dr Abdulrazak Nelson when the student sent it to external examiner for final oral defence. This discovery made him to draw the attention of Dr Nelson on the issue but Dr Nelson did not offer any credible explanation. Consequently, the staff reported the matter to the Head of Department of Urban and Regional Planning,” he said.
He said that on the HOD’s instruction, an investigation was conducted and a report was submitted to him. Thereafter, the HOD sort clarification from Dr Nelson. “Instead of addressing the issue, Nelson referred him to other supervisors of the student. All efforts to get detailed information on the similarity of the student’s thesis and that of Dr Abdullrazak Nelson were fruitless. The HOD later discovered that the supervisors were more interested in having the student having his external defence despite the controversy.”
With this development, the VC continued, “the HOD was left with no choice but to report the matter to a senior Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning for him to prevail on the three supervisors to consider shifting the oral defence of the thesis by the student.
“It was discovered by the senior Professor that the similarity of the two theses was alarming and he then called the attention of Dr F. A. Adebayo, then Deputy Dean of School of Environmental Technology to ask Prof Morenikeji to consider shifting the final oral defence by the student. But he was adamant and Ademola had his final oral defence.”
He explained that, although a committee was set up, investigated and submitted a report to then Vice Chancellor, Prof M. A. Akanji, he also refused to take action until he (Prof Bala) came in as the vice chancellor, as he revisited the issue and meted out punishments to the offenders.
He disclosed that Prof Morenikeji was subsequently removed as Deputy VC and demoted from his Professor rank of A07 step 10 to A07 step 02 and banned from holding any position of Academic leadership for five years, for negligence, complicity and attempts to suppress information, while different punishments were meted out on his colleagues in the shameful act.
He, therefore, wondered why Prof Morenikeji will now write an appeal to the Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu seeking for redress of the sanction given to him, notwithstanding that he (Prof Morenikeji) signed the thesis even when the student was in Mecca and had not done so.
“In his weak attempt to absolve himself of the act, the Prof Morenikeji claimed that he had no foreknowledge of the similarity of the thesis with that of the supervisor. But the HOD informed him twice about the issue which he deliberately ignored,” the VC said.