The Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Professor Ibrahim Njodi, has dismissed a report by the Nigerian Army that some members of staff of the institution who went on oil exploration with the NNPC team on July 25 were rescued.
He said five of the university workers on the exploration team were brought to the town dead.
Njodi said it was unfortunate that in the course of contributing to national development, nine staff of the university died in the process.
He spoke on Friday during the visit of the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachukwu, who led top management staff of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and NNPC delegation on condolence visit to the university
He said, “Four vibrant and excellent academic staff lost their lives. None put less than 10 years in the service of the university. It will take the university time to make replacements for the lecturers. How to replace them is the university’s biggest problem.”
Njodi refuted the claim by the military that it had rescued five of the nine workers involved in the incident, saying only five corpses were brought back.
He said the deceased included two lecturers, two technologists and a driver.
The VC said four other workers of the university involved in the oil exploration were still missing and are yet to be found by the security agents.
He also noted that the university wanted messages for the families of those missing to know the status of their loved ones, stressing that the university was expecting calls or reports about the four missing staff whether dead or alive.
He also requested the minister to give special scholarship awards to children of the deceased to study up to second degree level.
“It is sad to everybody. It is a price that must be paid. Only God can prevent or stop death. I call on the minister to also help in the continuous search for the missing four workers. Let us have information about where they are and how they are doing.”