Our sources said that for six years corruption has kept the department down, in what they described as “incredible amount corruption going on in the department of Optometry, Imo State University”.
Our sources added that corruption in the department ranges from students‘ “sorting", a colloquial term depicting a situation where lecturers demand and receive money and other forms of gratification from students in exchange for upgraded scores, “to leaking of examination papers before the exam date”.
Further inquiries showed that despite the monumental corruption in the department for six years, what has happened in the department in the last 18 months is nothing short of the absurd.
Our findings show that despite that the 2015 set of the department had concluded their examinations for close to two years, their results are yet ready and they have not been processed for induction into Optometry and Optical Board of Nigeria (ODORBN) and the Nigeria Optometry Association (NOA).
“The 2015 (09 matriculating set) of the department concluded and finished all their academic exams for graduation since August 2015 and since then they have not been processed by the department for the induction into the professional body by the Optometry and Optical Dispensing Board Of Nigeria (ODORBN) and the Nigeria Optometric Association (NOA)”, our source disclosed.
He added that the ODORBN had denied the department accreditation in 2015 due to poor equipment of the Optometry clinic and acute shortage of staff, but granted it temporary accreditation in 2015 so that it could induct its 2014 set.
“Earlier in 2015 the Board denied the department accreditation owing but granted temporary accreditation to the department for them to induct the 2014 (08' matriculating set). The reasons the Board accreditation was denied to the department ranged from poorly equipped school clinic to shortage of academic staff.
“The 2015 students having stayed at home for more than a year without the department doing anything to fulfil the demands of the Board took the bull by the horn by disturbing both the board registrar Prof. E.B Uzo-dike, the Head Of Department and they later extended it to the Vice Chancellor of the university for their induction. Their efforts yielded results that the Vice Chancellor released a sum of money being about 2.2million naira to the HOD for the repairs of the malfunctioning clinic instruments and installation and the payment of the balance of some new instruments earlier bought for the department by the university”, he added.
According to our source, the money was diverted by a senior staff of the department who used the money for something entirely different from what it was meant for.
He said that the senior staff “diverted the fund and used it to rent a building at Orlu town in the state which he termed Optometry Clinic Annex.” He further revealed that “this is a move to divert the fund and that since the last 5 months nothing has been done on the said rented apartment in Orlu: no renovation, not even a cleaning. Nothing was done in regards to the clinic repairs and payment of the balance of the acquired clinical instruments for which the money was released. No repairs, No payment, No new Optometry clinic in Orlu. No one has mentioned about that and the money gone!”
He also disclosed that the students, tired of the unending situation in the department decided to take their future into their hands by tasking themselves N4,500 each, in addition to the N390,000 the students had contributed for the purchase of a bus, all running into N3m, which they used in remodelling the interior of the clinic.
“It's been one month since the graduated students finished the whole job that was supposed to be done by the department and the school yet the HOD of the department has been hesitant to forward their results to the senate for approval. It's running into two years since they finished academic requirements. Their sets in other schools of Optometry have finished post graduation clinical internship and currently having their NYSC service yet the management of their department has not fulfilled their responsibility towards their induction into the professional body.
“The main and latest gut wrenching and despicable corruption going on that department is that since a 14months ago the students finished all academic requirements, (the department) has refused to push their results to the university senate for approval.
“They lay hold on false excuse that they are still working their results when in the actual sense they manipulating the results, upgrading scores for people that failed in one course or the other and in some case outrightly making a new result sheet for people that do not even have any result.”
He assured that students “with up to seven (7) carryovers are being manipulated and given results. They just purposely collect money from these victims through the back door to manufacture results for them. Even students without any results in any of the courses in their 400L have managed to get results, the set of students in this group pay N120,000 to N200,000. They charge N30,000 for one 2unit courses and more for 3-4unit course”.