The management of the Eastern Palm University Ogboko in Ideato South council area of Imo State has announced suspension of academic activities with immediate effect.
This followed the ownership crisis between the Imo State Government and Senator Rochas Okorocha’s Rochas Foundation.
A panel set up by then Governor Governor Emeka Ihedioha had recommended the university be taken over by the State Government.
The administration of Senator Hope Uzodimma, in accepting the recommendations of the panel, renamed the institution Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Tola Badejo, who briefed journalists in Owerri, the state capital, on Wednesday, said the decision to suspend academic activities was to protect students and staff as well as properties of the institution.
He said students have been ordered to vacate the premises from Friday April 30, pending resolution of the rift between Rochas Foundation and the State Government.
He said the order was to prevent any confrontation between the feuding parties, stressing the sign board of the university has been removed and replaced with the current name approved by the government.
“I have been directed by the management to suspend the current academic session till further notice pending the resolution of the ongoing dispute between Imo state government and Rochas Foundation.
“The school is currently in its fourth year and we are still receiving salaries from Rochas Foundation and about 90 per cent of the students are on scholarship,” he said.
The VC expressed optimism the impasse would be resolved so the current students would graduate on schedule.
He described the infrastructure in the institution as world class and pleaded they should not be allowed to waste.
A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Odanwu Augustine Ituma, said the university was embarrassed by the recent visit of Commissioner for Education who ordered the students to leave the premises.
He said replacement of the entrance billboards by the State Government with the proposed renamed K. O. Mbadiwe was simply an action too many.
The statement reads: “Antics and actions by the Imo State government have disrupted the academic activities in the institution and have stirred an air of panic and discomfort in a place that is designed to bring a sense of purpose to the young bright minds within its walls
“The 309 students of the institution, out of whom 286 are on Rochas Foundation scholarship would unfortunately be affected by the unforeseen development.”