The students of the National Open University of Nigeria, popular called NOUN have called on National Assembly and the Anti-Corruption Agencies to launch probe into the students’ inability to retrieve monies they left in the school’s “Portal Wallet” for which the new school leadership claimed were unable to be retrieved. These monies when put together runs into hundreds of millions.
The Students in their petition to LeadingReporters claimed that before now, the National Open University of Nigeria outsourced its website management to an IT company which managed all the activities of the school and the student information until the new Vice Chancellor Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu came in and faulted the process. The VCs argument was that the school spent a large junk of it monies to manage the web when according to him, the school has enough manpower to manage it in-house.
This led to the suspension of the contract and subsequently sparked off series of problems the students are currently facing.
“NOUN has under the current VC launched more than three different website apart from the old www.noun.edu.ng. It started with www.nou.org, it moved to www.noun.net and then www.nou.edu.net. Never has any of them lasted more than a month before it is pulled down”.
LeadingReporters learnt that when the students were finally able to access information on the portal, they saw all their details intact except monies they lodged into their “wallets” with the school.
The wallet is the students account with NOUN where students lodge in their monies in dedicated unique accounts before the monies are used for payment of fees, registration of courses, and registration of exams.
“Students pay in monies into their wallet more than they need to use in a semester for safety. Some rich students pre-fund their wallets as much as N100,000 or more. The monies are the ones the new management and their ICT collaborators have refused to reflect. The school authorities are claiming they could not retrieve the wallet details after they have retrieved the other students information. This we believe call for proper investigation”
Some of the students interviewed claimed they had balance ranging from N45,000 to N25,000 left in their wallets. Others as well had as little as within the range of N1,000 to N5,000.
Other issues raised by the students borders on a possible collaboration between the ICT staffs and owners of business centers within the school premises which makes it near-impossible for students to download information elsewhere unless one uses the facilities provided by business centers operating within the school premises supposedly owned by ICT workers in the school.
“Another face of fraud is the fact that one can hardly download materials from the so-called NOUN website elsewhere unless one uses the facilities of the business centers in the school premises who charge so outrageously. For materials that ordinarily costs one say around N200 to download from other business centers, one spends as much as N3,000 to download same from business centers in the school. The possible implication is that these ‘special business centers’ have special IP numbers or codes given to them by their ICT collaborators making it impossible for one to access information on the portals accept you use the ‘special business centers’ facilities which is believed to be owned by some of the ICT staff.
The students further complained of their exams which were never released but tagged pending. Pending result are those which the student have registered as course, registered for exams, wrote the exams, but are not released due to circumstances only known to the school management.
“Students are made to re-register for the exams and courses they have already written. The staffs of the school seem to misplace the students’ manuscripts and materials out of sheer laxity only to demand that the students pay and re-write the courses and exams they have paid for and written”
A law student who spoke to our correspondent lamented how all the five law courses she sat for in her 200 level were declared ‘pending’ and are not released after three semesters.
“Now I’m asked to re-register the courses all over again at N3,000 per course and Exam fee of N1,000 amounting to N4,000 each and five courses totaling N20,000 for no fault of mine”.
It was the same sad stories of fraudulently fleecing the students from other students who demand that their monies in their wallets be given back to them.
“It looks like a fraud. How can you tell me that you were able to retrieve every other information about me and you’re unable to retrieve the money I paid into my account with you? That’s impossible. It’s a glaring fraud. Our monies must be paid us back”. One of the students said.