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UNN Investigation Panel Forges Report To Exonerate Professor Implicated In Fraud

Two reliable sources have informed SaharaReporters that Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, is in the process of releasing a Government White Paper that will exonerate Uche Modum, a professor of accounting at the University of Nigeria (UNN) and former Commissioner with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), of a series of forgeries and falsifications with which she had cemented her promotion to full professorship. Our sources disclosed that the White Paper would claim that the whistleblower who exposed Mrs. Modum had failed to respond to an invitation by the investigative panel to present his case.

Mr. Adamu had in December 2015 set up committees to investigate petitions pertaining to seven federal universities and three polytechnics, including UNN. In several reports dating back to 2013, SaharaReporters had provided incontrovertible evidence that Mrs. Modum had forged the acceptance letter of a top US journal that purportedly accepted two of her research papers for publication. In addition, this website reported that Mrs. Modum had forged her American work experience and included several non-existent publications in her official CV published by UNN. The controversial professor had also in the past used multiple dates of birth in order to extend her employment at the UNN.

Our investigations disclosed that Ugochukwu Uche, another professor at UNN, had exposed Mrs. Modum’s forgeries and falsification of credentials. Our reports on the scandal revealed that Mr. Uche, the then the Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, alerted UNN authorities to the serious discrepancies he had found in documents Mrs. Modum had submitted for her professorial promotion. But rather than punish the fraudster professor, the UNN authorities tried to pressure the whistleblower to recant and apologize to Mrs. Modum. After unsuccessfully trying to close the case by forcing Mr. Uche to apologize to the forger professor or to withdraw his damning report, the Governing Council at UNN, at the urging of its chairman, Emmanuel Ukala, fired the whistleblower.

When the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) suspended the sack of Mr. Uche, on the grounds that UNN had over a period of two years refused to cooperate with its inquiry to determine whether Mr. Uche's right to fair hearing was respected, UNN hired three Senior Advocates of Nigeria to sue NHRC to challenge its jurisdiction.  

SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Uche petitioned Education Minister, Mr. Adamu. One of our sources disclosed that, even though the minister had received Mr. Uche’s petition before the inauguration of the investigation panels, his petition was never forwarded to the panel that visited UNN. “The petition that Professor Uche submitted to Malam Adamu Adamu mysteriously disappeared from the file when the Minister asked that all petitions be photocopied and handed over to the chairmen of the investigating panels,” one of our sources revealed. He added that this development led to a big row between the Minister's special adviser, Abdullahi Baffa, and a senior ministerial official who coordinated the photocopy process.

Another source, at UNN, told SaharaReporters that the chairman of the UNN panel, Professor Godwin Nsofor, on arrival at the university indicated that, although he had heard about Mr. Uche's petition in Abuja, it was not part of the issues his panel was asked to investigate. Mr. Nsofor’s panel submitted its report on January 5, 2016. Other members of the panel were Professor Ikenna Onyido, Professor Haruna Abdu, Bashir A Bello and Dr. Chinelu Nwosu.

A source familiar with the investigative panel told SaharaReporters that, after the Nsofor committee concluded its investigation, it was pressured to sneak in Professor Uche's petition into their report and to claim that it tried to invite him during their visit to Nsukka but could not reach him. The source stated that this surprising development made it obvious that Mr. Adamu or some powerful bureaucrats in the Federal Ministry of Education had caved in to external pressure to help protect Mrs. Modum.

“In fact, this kind of scam cannot be pulled off without the explicit cooperation of the Minister of Education,” the source insisted, adding that Mr. Adamu had authorized the release of a White Paper that would help cover up both Mrs. Modum’s fraud and the extraordinary steps taken by the UNN’s Governing Council to target the whistleblower for punishment.