• Allegations, Handiwork of Detractors
  • Won’t Distract Me From Making NIALS Great
  • 99.9% of Law Academics, Judges are Plagiarists
  • Ladan Has Not Resigned, Still Our Staff – ABU VC

By Samson Yaki, Garba M. Muhammad & Zainab Atinuke Zakariyya

The Director General of National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Muhammad Tawfiq Ladan, has reacted to what he described as ‘frivolous’ allegations of plagiarism levelled against him by faceless colleagues, in the social media, which resulted in his subsequent and misleading trial and prosecution in the court of public opinion, saying, “the allegations, which are baseless and the handiwork of detractors, are only meant to distract him from efforts to make the Institute great and one of the best in the world.”

It would be recalled that the online edition of Education Monitor recently broke the news that the Director General had tendered his letter of resignation from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for fear of dismissal and prosecution over allegations of plagiarism; a claim he described as false and laughable; stressing that, “I am still in the employ of my alma mater, where I have been working for close to 35 years in the institution’s Faculty of Law, grooming, mentoring and investing in the training of future scholars and lawyers”.

Confirming Professor Ladan’s revelation, Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Kabiru Bala, in a chat with Education Monitor on whether Professor Ladan has actually resigned from the University or not, simply said, “Professor Ladan, to the best of my knowledge, is still a staff of ABU”

Reacting to the allegation in an exclusive interview with a Team of Editors of Education Monitor, Professor Ladan who  debunked the allegations, descended on Education Monitor for what he described as its misleading headline that read, “BREAKING: Plagiarism: DG, NIALS, Prof. Ladan, Resigns, To Stave off Dismissal, Prosecution”, which was generated from a tip from certain quarters in the University; the rider of which later turned out to be untrue, because the newspaper could not authenticate the  veracity of the claim that the Professor had resigned from the University, for whatever reason, after an exhaustive investigation.

The Director General who however blamed his age-long adversaries who he suspected were the architects of the misleading story, said these people have for long been trying, without success, to mislead the public on his personality and have also made several covert and overt efforts to pull him down out of unnecessary envy and pathological animosity.

He stressed that the earlier false allegation against him raised in Global Sentinel News, no doubt, has the imprint of his pathological foes; stressing that this was a deliberate ploy to distract him from his unwavering commitment to add unprecedented and enviable value in the institute. He maintained that their despicable activities will not only fail but will certainly be exposed sooner than later.

Professor Ladan noted that, “I have never been unaware of the evil machinations of retrogressive elements around anybody occupying such sensitive and important positions, like mine, in the society. These kind of boat rockers, who are certainly the source of the mischief, started working to undermine me right from my formative stage as a young and hardworking lecturer in the University”.

Shedding light on the plagiarism allegation, Pofessor Ladan opined that “the report by the Global Sentinel News was full of misrepresentation of facts”; arguing that, contrary to the reporter’s claims, “all sources of the highlighted paragraphs by the Journalist were duly acknowledged by me in the references/Footnotes of my work”.

Professor Ladan however said, in any case, ” If plagiarism is simply about lack of acknowledgement of sources or appropriate referencing of other people’s work used or reproduced verbatim, then in the context of book writers, most of such publications will not pass the test of Plagiarism”. Simply put, if what I am being accused of could be termed as Plagiarism, then 99.9% of Lawyers, Judges and law academics are Plagiarists”

He also added that, “even as Legal Education has its own peculiarities and diverse ways of referencing, acknowledgement must be constant or uniform and non- negotiable”

He added that “referencing in Law is different from humanities where you cite in the process of writing”, explaining that in law, “you can make reference either in the acknowledgement or the endnote/footnote; and you can quote the work verbatim”.

He disclosed that, “Law lecturers in the country are presently working to come up with a standardized and harmonized citation formula and referencing style that will be adopted by both law academics and Professionals”.

Commenting on the actual reasons that prompted him to initially tender a resignation letter from the University, but which he later withdrew, following the Vice Chancellor’s intervention, Professor Ladan said the action was as a result of misunderstanding that arose from request to allow him maintain his house accommodation for a particular period, following his recent appointment as Director General of NIALS.

“When I got my recent appointment as the Director General of NIALS, I wrote to request the University to allow my family remain in the Kongo Campus Staff Quarters of the University, where we have been living for a long time, the way other lecturers used to be allowed whenever they were going on Leave of Absence, but unfortunately, I was denied”.

He continued that, “Decision to turn down my request to allow my family remain in the house was communicated to me in two separate letters on the same day, dated 20th March, 2020; but were served on my boy on the 10th of June 2020.

The letters which were captioned, “Notice of allocation of House No. 4, Jafaru Road”, and signed by one Zainab Abubakar (Mrs), for the Institute’s Secretary, read, “I have been directed to inform you that the University Quarters, 4 Jafaru Road, Kongo Campus, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, you are currently occupying, has been allocated to a serving staff member. As you are aware, staff members on Leave of Absence are not entitled to University Quarters”.

The letters further read, “As a result of the foregoing, you have been given three months from the date of this letter within which to vacate the quarters”.

In his response to the two letters, Professor Ladan, in a letter titled, “RE: Notice of allocation of House No. 4 Jafaru Road Dated 20th March, 2020, but, served on my Houseboy on June 10th, withdrawn, re-issued and served again on June 11th due to wrong departmental address indicated on it”; said “in reference to your letter dated 1A/S/81A/20th March 2020, I wish to acknowledge receipt of the above delivered on 11th June 2020”.

He added that “Although, since early January 2020, I voluntarily started packing out some of my properties to the Knowledge of Kongo Security office (and Chief), and would have completed by now, save for the lockdown and prohibition of interstate movement imposed by the FGN/ Kaduna State Government on 31st of March 2020.

He argued that, “giving three months from the date of this letter within which to vacate the quarters cannot hold water because the letter itself was served on June 10th/11 June 2020 and for the fact of prohibition of inter-state movements, both reasons earlier given, and knowingly, I and my family had to come from Abuja to do the clearance; for this reason, therefore, compliance to the deadline, could not have been guaranteed”.

The professor therefore said, “it was because of this embarrassment that I decided to resign from the University, which was mischievously interpreted by my detractors that I was trying to resign to stave off dismissal or possible prosecution by the authorities of the University over false allegations.”

Professor Ladan however thanked the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kabiru Bala, who intervened in the case by instructing that he be allowed to stay in the house up to September, as he had earlier requested, and later adviced him to withdraw the resignation Letter, which he said he did in a separate letter to the Vice Chancellor on 28th June 2020.

In Prof Ladan’s letter, he notified the University of withdrawing his earlier letter of voluntary retirement in the following words; “kindly accept withdrawal of my earlier letter on voluntary retirement from the University and count on me on the above within my possible good health”.

Following this resolution on 3rd June 2020, Professor Ladan has up to September 2020 (for three Months’ notice), to maintain his university accommodation at No. 4 Jafaru road, Kongo Campus without any disturbance.

Professor Ladan, without mincing words, said as far as he is concerned, he is still a bonafide staff of ABU.

Recounting his contributions to the growth and development of the university, the academic Jurist boasted that he is one of the lecturers that have the highest number of lecturers that he had trained and mentored from Undergraduate to Professors. “Out of the 14 Professors in the Faculty, eight were trained and mentored by me”, he boasted.

He wondered why “after having paid my dues in several ways in the University in general and the Faculty in particular, some people who have not contributed half of what I did, would frustrate me to the point of wanting to leave the University just for common accommodation issue. But thank God for the wisdom of the VC who appreciate hard work and excellence, quickly intervened”, he emphasized.

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