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General News of Friday, 26 October 2018

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

KNUST Council, VC sacked; 7-member IMC in place

The embattled Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, appears to have been relieved of his post following the dissolution of the Governing Council of the University.

The KNUST Governing Council was dissolved with immediate effect, following the violent demonstration that rocked the university on Monday, a statement from the Education Ministry said.

Even though the statement was very silent on the fate of the beleaguered Vice Chancellor, Prof. Obiri-Danso, his name was conspicuously missing from a seven-member Interim Management Committee (IMC) put in place by government to run the school for the next three months.

Sources said Prof. Obiri-Danso’s days as VC of the KNUST are numbered, as it appears he is being shown the exit quietly to avert embarrassment.

The task would be carried out by the IMC since the hands of the government are tied when it comes to the removal of VCs.

IMC Membership

The seven-member IMC, chaired by Nana Effah Appenteng, the Paramount Chief of Bompata Traditional Area, would now run the university on a daily basis.

The IMC, which is made up of top prominent people, especially from the academia, is expected to take all the key decisions concerning the university in the next three months.

The IMC comprises Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson, the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor; Dr Edward Baffoe-Bonnie and Hilda Haggar Ampadu.

The rest, whose duties have commenced already, are Prof. Joshua Ayarkwa, Abena Antwi and Kelvin Sah.

This was contained in a press release, which was issued by the Ministry yesterday.

The government took the decision following a briefing given to it by three ministers, including the Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh.



IMC Duties

Members of the IMC have been tasked to determine the cause of the recent students’ riot on campus that led to destruction of properties.

They are also to establish the extent and cost of destruction to properties on campus.

The IMC has also been charged to resolve the differences between the university management and the student body to avert the recurrence of riots on campus.

KNUST Riots

Irate students of the university went on rampage, destroying several properties on Monday.

The students had vehemently complained about harsh treatment from the school’s management, who they accused of abusing their rights, including meting out corporal punishment to them like students in the secondary school.

The thousands of students, including females, boycotted class on Monday morning and hit the streets to display their frustration to the public.

But what initially appeared to be a peaceful march, suddenly turned nasty, as the students took the law into their hands and caused massive destruction to properties.

Flashy vehicles, laptops, computers and motorbikes, belonging to officials of the university were destroyed by the irate students.

Reports suggested that some of the students took advantage of the situation to loot people’s offices and stores on campus.

Security men of KNUST, who were the main targets of the demonstrators, reportedly fled from the school to save their lives.

A woman, believed to be the wife of one of the security men even had her ‘banku’, which was on fire, seized by the rampaging students.

Grapevine information suggests that management’s decision to covert male halls into unisex halls might be the immediate cause of the riot.

Other say there might be remote causes too.



Soldiers Take Over

As things were getting out of hand, the school authorities hurriedly called for a joint team of military and police personnel who worked to restore law and order on the campus.

The Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) also advised that the university be closed down indefinitely as the place was not conducive for learning.

Ministers Invade KNUST

Considering the importance that government attaches to KNUST, the Minster of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh had to rush to Kumasi on Tuesday.

He was accompanied by Kan Dapaah, National Security Minister and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister-designate.

The ministers met all the feuding parties and forwarded their report to the president, which led to the dissolution of the governing council of the university.

Re-opens 14 Days

It also said President Akufo-Addo had directed that the university be opened within the next 14 days for academic work to continue unabated.

According to the government, the continual closure of the university would not only affect academic work, but taint the country’s image outside.

Govt Condemns Riots

The statement also said that the Akufo-Addo administration has condemned the way the students breached the law and destroyed items.

Meanwhile, the paper gathered that plans are underway to surcharge anybody that would be found culpable in the massive destruction of properties in the school.