Nigerian professor Augustine Nwagbara who was sacked by a Ghanaian University finally reacts to the incident.
The Nigerian professor that was sacked by University of Education Winneba, Ghana, says their action was unethical.
In June, the university sacked Nwagbara, a visiting lecturer, after the emergence of a video showing him attacking the Ghanaian government for allegedly treating Nigerians with disdain. After Nwagbara’s comments, some Nigerians were attacked at their shops in the Suame spare parts business centre in Kumasi.
“You cannot be here and suffering. Let the leaders get our media guys to come here and cover what has been happening,” the varsity teacher had said.
But the University said Nwagbara’s comments were disturbing.
“In the said video, Prof. Nwagbara makes several unsavoury, unethical and damning comments about our country, its history as well as its educational system. The University totally dissociates itself from the grossly irresponsible comments and condemns it in no uncertain terms,” it said in a statement posted on its website.
However, during a courtesy visit to the Chairman NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri -Erewa in Abuja on Thursday, the professor of English said his dismissal was wrong because he was on sabbatical to the institution and not a staff.
He said, “It’s quite relieving being home; I had a very traumatic 10 days in Ghana; I was living alone in Ghana and only a few Nigerians had the courage to come to me because it was going to be very bad for them to associate with me; their safety was at stake.
“At that period i was not only afraid of Ghanaians but there was the media doing massive promotion.
”That video was discussed cumulatively everyday for hours on the media and none of the media asked for my side of the story.
“The intelligence agencies and the police came several times to the university and there was this tense period until the Nigerian High Commissioner stepped into the matter.
“At some point the High Commissioner took me to the police, when we got there, we thought it was going to be a few minutes’ interaction but we spent six hours with them.
“When I got home my landlord was worried saying my arrest was in the news.
”The next day the university set up a panel to look into the matter and on my way to the panel I heard news over the radio in my car at 3.00pm that I was sacked.”
He also said that “If a panel is set up to probe a professor, it should be made up of people not below the position of a professor and if found guilty he goes to a second panel and then to the University council.
“The fastest the process can be is two months but this happened in less than 15 minutes.
”When I got home, a colleague of mine at a conference in Malaysia sent me a press statement on my dismissal through WhatsApp.
“I noticed the press release stated that I am no longer a responsibility of the university so I knew it had managed to get itself out of trouble.
“The video that circulated the internet was not a press conference but an open air gathering of about 30 Nigerians in Winneba, central region next to Accra.
”Nigerians in the community came together to deliberate on the deportation of Nigerians in Kasuwa which was a major point for deportation.”
The professor said that he was at the gathering with six professionals on sabbatical because they heard that the Nigerian High Commissioner was coming.
He said that some computer experts from University of Lagos tracked the viral video and discovered it was a Ghanian journalist, who had been consistently promoting Xenophobia that posted it.
“The journalist excluded context from the video because the video was actually supposed to show a meeting with people making contributions but instead the video was doctored and stitched,” Nwagbara said.
He said the involvement of the Nigerian High Commisioner helped matters and that the story would have been different without his intervention.