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Protest by a group under the aegis of the Larger House of Plateau Youth Council yesterday forced the state High Court 2 in Jos to adjourn till May 11, a case against the provost of the Federal School of Medical Laboratory Science, Jos, Dr. Nkereuwe Sunday Etukudoh, and four others.
The four were facing charges of alleged corruption and embezzlement of public funds in their care as public office holders.
On February 20, when the case came up for the first time before Justice Yakubu Dakwak, it had to be adjourned to May 2, as one of the important accused persons, Mr. Ernest Demtoe, a data analyst in the school, was absent because of ill health.
The case had to come up yesterday because May 2 was declared a public holiday.
The group said its action was informed by the fact that the provost did not follow due process as obtained in the Federal Character Act in employment of staff.
According to their chairman, Mr. Makwal George Michael, “Our mission here is very simple. It is to protest against the non-adherence to the federal character.
“The provost has been doing what he wants to do with a lot of impunity to federal character and we feel as a people, we need to let the world know that something is going wrong in this institution. He has been here since 2006; by 2007 he was acting provost, 2008 he was made the provost. So, he has been here for 10 years and the school is still at the temporary site. We have not moved to the permanent site,” Michael stated.
He further explained that “when you talk about workforce in the institution, the provost is from Akwa Ibom State; his local government, Abak alone constitutes more than 15 percent of the workforce. So, we feel that what about Plateau; what is their benefit; what about the federal character that says levels one to five be given to the indigenes because messengers and security men are brought from Akwa Ibom?
“And we have engaged the provost in discussion since last year and till this moment, nothing has come out of it and he is not willing to cooperate. So, today we came here in court because he has been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on issues they raised against him. And we feel we should add a voice to it by saying surely, what they are accusing him of may be right. We are not satisfied; we are not agreeing; we have people who are capable in Plateau State; we have able hands; we have intellectuals that should be engaged in that institution too.”
According to Michael’s records of staff of the institution which were distributed to journalists at the court premises, “Out of the lecturers in the institution, he has 35 from Akwa Ibom while 10 only are from Plateau. In the senior staff of the institution, he has 43 from Akwa Ibom while 37 are from Plateau. Kogi State where his wife hails from, they have 22 senior staff. For God’s sake, is it a family business?
“Other states like Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Bayelsa, Kwara and Gombe have no single member of staff in that institution. What about the federal character? So, we say Etukudoh is not wishing the federal government well and in a ‘change’ government like this, we wish the government to do something and change him and chase him out and bring somebody who has interest for the development of Nigeria. All of us have a stake in this country and all of us should be represented equally wherever we are.
“This is a clarion call, not only to the Federal School of Medical Laboratory; all other federal agencies in Plateau should please respect federal character.”
However, due to the absence of all the accused persons in court yesterday, the presiding judge adjourned the case to May 11 for hearing.

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