Nigerian ‘professor’ sacked by Oxford University

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University of Oxford has terminated the Academic Visitor status of a Nigerian author, Onyeka Nwelue.

This follows the misuse of the university logos and premises for commercial purposes by the author.

Nwelue wasn’t alone in this. A Nigerian self-acclaimed investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, also had his association with the university terminated.

This much was revealed in an investigation by Cherwell, a weekly student newspaper published entirely by students of Oxford University.

Cherwell, on Thursday March 2, Oxford University has launched an investigation into the misuse of its logos and premises for commercial purposes without permission and allegations of misogyny towards students and the spread of racist, classist, and sexist content online.

“Onyeka Nwelue and David Hundeyin are no longer associated with the University of Cambridge. Their connections were terminated following an investigation into their conduct.” Cambridge reportedly told Cherwell.

The book titled “The Jungle” which was published by UK-based Abibiman Publishing partly owned by Nwelue, was sold at £20, while tickets for the book launch were marketed through the James Currey Society which was also founded by Nwelue and incorporated as a for-profit company in May 2022, under the name of James Currey International, were priced at £20.

The book launch was originally advertised as taking place in the African Studies Centre, but the location was changed at short notice to a room in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages at Wellington Square.

According to the publication, attendees of the event alleged that misogynistic remarks made by its organisers and other audience members made them feel “incredibly uncomfortable”.

One student reportedly said to Cherwell: “Explicitly sexist comments were made throughout by the speaker and audience which were not challenged and were in fact encouraged.

“Comments made suggested that women slept their way to the top, which oppressed men, and that marrying a woman held you back in life”.

Hundeyin, a journalist has accused the newspaper of publishing half-baked information, which he alleged was supplied by one Miles Larmer in collusion with a Nigerian governor Nasir El-Rufai.

Sharing email screenshots, he acknowledged he was contacted by the newspaper for confirmation or rebuttal of the accusations on March 1 and despite his response supported with evidence, the newspaper went ahead to publish without any mention of his position for balanced reporting.

“When they reached out for comment, I had informed them that my Fellowship was not terminated, and I showed them the letter above as proof. They nonetheless ran the story anyway and quoted an anonymous source claiming that Cambridge terminated me,” Hundeyin said.

The journalist said he has a long-standing face-off with Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna state who is a member of Oxford’s African Studies Centre’s International Advisory Board inaugurated on 12 October 2018 by Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“This once again makes the point to me that salvation for Africa will only ever come from within. If the legendary, venerated Oxford University is reduced to acting as Nasir El-Rufai’s personal fixer, then there are truly no institutions that Nigerian politicians cannot corrupt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cherwell said when it confronted Nwelue about complaints from attendees at the book launch, he responded: “I am very sorry if the students felt uncomfortable. About sexism and misogyny, I will never condone that. I am apologetic if that happened. Really sorry.”

Nwelue studied sociology and anthropology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and earned a scholarship to study directing at the Prague Film School in Czech Republic.

Although Nwelue had established The Henry Louis Gates Jr Fellowship at the University of Cambridge and worked as an Academic Visitor at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, he is now being labelled as a fraud by the University’s newspaper.

At Oxford, Academic Visitorship is set up on terms agreed between an individual and the University. Cherwell said Nwelue denied ever posing as a professor at Oxford and Cambridge.

“My card says I am an Academic Visitor and that is exactly what I tell people. The accusation that I say I am a professor at Oxford is baseless,” he was quoted as saying.

The University of Oxford has not confirmed whether any background checks were carried out on Nwelue before he gained status as an Academic Visitor.

Nwelue’s Twitter account has now been deleted.

Cherwell said Nwelue locked his Twitter account on Thursday after tweeting: “I am leaving social media this evening. It will be for long. [sic]. I might delete all my accounts as well. Bless you all!”