The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami went through standard processes before his appointment as a Professor of Cybersecurity in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The appointment announced in September generated controversy which led to an investigation.
The FUTO chapter of ASUU noted that Pantami’s application scaled six hurdles before it was ratified by the Governing Council.
The body clarified that external assessors were engaged to examine the minister’s publications ahead of his elevation.
An inquiry cleared the Governing Council and the management of any wrongdoing in appointing Pantami a Professor of Cybersecurity in FUTO School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT).
ASUU conclusions were contained in the report of a five-man investigative committee set up at the union’s September 22 session.
Prof M. S. Nwakaudu was the Chairman; Prof G.A. Anyanwu, Prof C. E. Orji, Prof (Mrs) O. P. Onyewuchi were members, and Prof T. I. N. Ezejiofor served as Secretary
The probe report disclosed that the panel interacted with FUTO Registrar; immediate past Chairman, Committee of Deans; Dean, School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT).
Others were Deans of Schools who were members of ASAPC-Professional during the 2020/2021 Appraisal Year; some members of the previous Governing Council, and Acting Head, Cybersecurity Department.
The findings of the panel revealed how Pantami was appointed by the federal tertiary institution situated in Imo State.
The report said in line with capacity building in modern trends of engineering, science and technology, FUTO established Forensic Science, Software Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Cybersecurity, Radiography and Radiation Science, among other programmes.
It discovered that FUTO advertised vacancies in Academic and Academic Support Staff in six Schools – SICT, SESET, SOES, SOHT, SBMS and SOBS – and 23 Departments including Cybersecurity.
The vacancies advertised in the academic departments, including Cyber Security Department, were for Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, etc
The advertisement appeared in two national newspapers and interested candidates signified interest through their applications.
The report found Pantami applied for the post of Professor of Cybersecurity and was given a temporary appointment as Professor of Cybersecurity in the Cybersecurity Department. He accepted in writing.
The minister’s qualifications include BSc, MSc in Computer Science and MBA, all from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU).
He holds a PhD in Computer Information System from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, and is a fellow/member of a number of international Computer Science professional societies.
The report said Pantami was requested to submit details of his publications and productive works for both internal and external assessments. He complied with the request.
The publications and productive works were sent to the Dean of SICT for internal assessment to establish a prima facie case for the professorial appointment.
The Dean of SICT evaluated the publications and productive works using the FUTO Guidelines for Appointment and Promotion and established a case for Pantami to be appointed a Professor of Cybersecurity.
It reads further: “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. Ibrahim.
“Dr. Ibrahim’s publications and productive works were sent for external assessment. The assessment returned positive and the Council at its meeting of 20th August, 2021 approved his appointment as a Professor of Cybersecurity.
“Dr. Ibrahim has assumed duties and is currently involved in the teaching of CYB 201 (Fundamentals of Cyber Security) via online. He is a lead Supervisor of one PhD Student/Staff of Cybersecurity Department.”
The panel added Pantami’s appointment followed due process and recommended legal action against those that tried to tarnish FUTO’s image.