The Chairman NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri- Erewa and Professor Augustine Nwagbara at a meeting on Thursday
Professor Augustine Nwagbara on Thursday said his dismissal from University of Education Winneba, Ghana was unethical and should be reversed in the interest of the University.
The professor said this during a courtesy visit to the Chairman NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri -Erewa in Abuja.
The University of Education Winneba in Ghana had terminated the appointment of the visiting Nigerian English professor who was allegedly seen urging Nigerians, in a video that had gone viral, to stand up against Ghanaians for unfair treatment and about the poor quality of Ghana’s varsities.
Nwagbara said he was on sabbatical which makes the dismissal wrong adding that he was not a staff of the university but visiting and it was only his sabbatical appointment that can be terminated.
“Its quite relieving being home I had very traumatic 10 days in Ghana, I was living alone in Ghana and only a few Nigerians had the courage to come to me because at the point it was very bad associating with me for their safety and i didn’t encourage it.
” The Nigerian Embassy was about 60km away from where I lived so getting there was a journey on its own.
“At that period i was not only afraid of Ghanaians but there was the media doing massive promotion. That video was discussed cumulatively everyday for hours on the media and none of the media asked for my side of the story.
“The intelligence agencies and the police came several times to the university and there was was this tense period until the Nigerian High Commissioner stepped into the matter.
“At some point the High Commissioner took me to the police, when we got there, we taught it was going to be a few minutes interaction but we spent six hours.
” When I got home my landlord was worried saying my arrest was in the news. The next day the university set up a panel to look into the matter and on my way to the panel I heard news over the radio in my car at 3.00pm that I was sacked,” he said.
Nwagbara said he started with the panel at 3.40pm and left the panel some minutes past 6.00 pm and heard same news about his dismissal on the radio in his car which he heard at 3.00pm.
“If a panel is set to try a professor, it should be made up of people not less than the position of a professor and if found guilty he goes to a second panel and then to the University council.
“The fastest the process can be is two months but this happened in less than 15 minutes.
“When I got home, a colleague of mine at a conference in Malaysia sent me a press statement on my dismissal through watsapp.
“I noticed the press release stated that i am no longer a responsibility of the university so i knew it had managed to get itself out of trouble.
“The video that circulated the internet was not a press conference but an open air gathering of about 30 Nigerians in Winneba, central region next to Accra.
“Nigerians in the community came together to deliberate on the deportation of Nigerians in Kasuwa which was a major point for deportation. I was at the gathering with six professionals on sabbatical because we heard our High Commissioner was coming.”
Nwagbara said he got some computer people from University of Lagos who tracked the viral video and discovered it was a Ghanian journalist who had been consistently promoting Xenophobia that posted the video.
”The journalist excluded context from the video because the video was a meeting with people making contributions but instead the video was doctored and stitched, ” he said.
He said the involvement of the Nigerian High Commisioner helped matters adding that the story would have been different if otherwise.
“I have still not received the termination letter directly but it is online in two versions,one is a media release by the University, the second is a personal letter written to me. One was not signed, the other was signed by the University registra.
” They have my email and I did not receive any mail but heard my dismassal was pasted all over the country, ” he said.
He added that student’s scripts were still with him at the time but he considered the lives of young africans would be at stake and dropped the scripts through a third party to deliver to the head of department.
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of NIDCOM appreciated Nwagbara and welcomed him back to Nigeria saying he had a space in the Commission to share his intellectual wealth of knowlege and experience.
” At this point in time we need to work as Africans to promote unity in the continent, from official information between January and now about 509 Nigerians have been deported from Ghana, 527 Nigerians were also deported within six months in 2018.
” If Nigerians do same here to Ghanians it would not augur well for the continent. We encourage dialogue and
” We will not tolerate treating our people anyhow if a Nigerian commits a crime the person should be dealth with and not generalise. All the deportees could not have been criminals.
” We will engage the authorities and lets work together for the development of Africa. We should not discriminate against eachother.we will demand decent treatment of our brothers and sisters wherever they are. We have taken this up with the Ghanian authorities and received cooperation from them and hope it continues.
She appreciated the Nigerian Ambassador in Ghana and encouraged his good work adding that policies would be at the level of the ministers of foreign affairs from Nigeria and Ghana to decide on issues. (NAN).