Alleged workers’ harassment in Lagos tertiary institutions sparks protest


A coalition of civil societies in Lagos State have staged a mass protest against what they described as the the growing culture of harassment, dismissal and termination of appointments of leadership of workers’ unions across the tertiary institutions in the state.

The protesters tagged it “Save Tertiary Education Rally”.

They urged both the Governor Babajide Sanwo-led executive arm and the Lagos State House of Assembly to quickly intervene by calling the schools’ administrators to order.

The groups, which protested at the house of assembly on Wednesday, comprised the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Alliance for Nigerian Students Against Neo-Liberal Attacks (ANSA), the United Action for Democracy (UAD), among others.

They demanded that the governor ordered the reinstatement of members of staff that were recently sacked at the Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Ijanikin.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition, the executive director of Workbond International Network (WIN), Omotaje Olawale, said there is an urgent need for the governor’s intervention to save the tertiary institutions in the state.

He said there is a total breakdown of Law and order and degeneracy of facilities across the various institutions.

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He spoke on what he tagged the “illegal dismissal” of five staff from LASPOTECH, three lecturers from LASU and 37 from AOCOED.

“There are acute and seemingly intractable crises on the campuses as our academic institutions are currently being turned into barracks. They are gradually becoming graveyards for both lecturers and students,” Mr Olawale said.

Also speaking, the representative of the United Action for Democracy (UAD), Kunle Ajayi, said 38 staff of LASPOTECH were arrested and incarcerated in kirikiri and one of the arrested staff died a week after their release.

He added that two others are currently hospitalised for severe health conditions.

Addressing the protesters, the majority leader in the State House of Assembly, Mr Senai Agunbiade and Adebisi Yusuf, representing Alimosho 1 constituency, commended them for being peaceful in their approach.

Mr Agunbiade said that the case of LASPOTECH is not new to the parliamentarians, saying there have been diverse interactions on the issue. He revealed that the case was being addressed by the house.

He however, said that there has been no formal complaint brought to the House with regard to AOCOED and LASU.

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“If there are cases in other institutions and we do not have the privilege of knowing, there is no way we can know and intervene unless it is brought to the assembly.”

Mr Agunbiade added that some will claim they brought letters to the House but did not address it in a proper manner and that matters are only taken up officially when submitted to the office of the speaker or clerk.

“I’m not aware that there is any petition from AOCOED in respect of any brewing crisis there.”

He said even before the affected workers and students brought the matter of LASPOTECH to the house, he had raised it on the floor of the parliament as the representative of the constituency. He, however, expressed disappointment at the conduct of the unions’ representatives before the Parliament.

In his words, “When you fight the authority in your school and you fight everyone who could be sympathetic to your course, then everyone will get fed up with your case.”

He lamented that the intervention of the House of Assembly has been aborted by the actions of the representatives, alleging that some external forces are behind the crisis at the polytechnic.

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“We know what has happened there, we have facts on what has happened in LASPOTECH,” Mr Agunbiade said.

He assured the protesters that the matter will be resolved and that when other matters are brought to the house like that of LASPOTECH, they will be addressed.

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