ASUU chiefs’ sack at LASU lawful, professors say

LASU gate

A group of professors and senior academics at the Lagos State University (LASU) have said that the sack of three executives in the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was within the law.

Eight academic and non-academic staff members of LASU were last Thursday sacked by the LASU Governing Council over various allegations.

Three of the sacked officials in relation to the possession of official document and leaking same to the public are executive members of ASUU and have accused the school leadership of victimisation.

The documents leaked were from the file of Vice-Chancellor, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, who they accused of earning promotion unlawfully and believed does not deserve to hold his office.

Fagbohun, a law professor had maintained his innocence when the allegation, amongst others, was first published by an online newspaper.

Months later, the university launched investigations into the leaking of the documents referenced and fingered three executives of ASUU LASU who signed a petition which contained the information.

The trio of Dr Tony Dansu, Dr Oluwakemi Aboderin-Shonibare, and Dr Adeolu Oyekan now sacked believed that the university was deliberately targeting them as it did in September 2017 to some former ASUU executives.

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Dansu is the ASUU LASU scribe while Oyekan is his deputy and Aboderin-Shonibare is the treasurer.

But a set of University teachers while addressing journalists on Tuesday dismissed their claims.

They also noted that the action did not mean the institution is engulfed in any internal crisis.

Among them were, the chairman, Conflict Resolution and Policy Advisory Committee at LASU, Martin Anietekhai; the Director, General Nigerian Studies, Abiodun Akinpelu; the Head of Department of Theatre Arts and Music, Sola Fosudo; and Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, Babatunde Yusuf, and a former Chairman of ASUU LASU in the school, Jamiu Oluwatoki.

The professors alluded to the existence legal procedures, which the affected lecturers could explore rather than heating up the polity.

Anietekhai, a professor who had been in the university for 35 years said the affected staff members could still appeal to the Council, or the Visitor to the school or go to court.

Fosudo, a creative arts professor, stressed the need to be cultured as academics. He wondered how junior lecturers would go about making “spurious” allegation to bring down others.

He also debunked allegation that some senior lecturers wanted to take over the running of the union.

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Yusuf, a professor who previously served as the vice chairman of ASUU LASU branch, dismissed the notion of making the sack all about the ASUU officials in a section of the media even as others were affected.

He noted that being an ASUU member or union leader could not be taken as a license to be involved in what he termed criminal acts.

“Being a member of ASUU executive does not exonerate one if one commits an offence.”

He added that the officials’ sack does nor translate into the end of ASUU at LASU.

A copy of the Conditions of Service of the University made available to stated the unlawful possession of official documents as an offence attracting dismissal.

Regarding backdating the promotion of staff members, the professor said it was common practice.

“The backdating of promotions emanated from the crisis we had in 2009 and 2010 when the school was shut down for about a year. When the school resumed 2011 January, many staff members due for promotion called for their dues and many were given promotion, though backdated. The current Vice Chancellor was among those who ought to benefit then, so when he came back to LASU, his case was among those treated and approved in 2014,” he said.

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On his part, Oluwatoki, a former ASUU chairman, said those sacked were not axed for being ASUU leaders or activists, but for official misconduct.
He said that the union would not die, as there were processes of handling such issues and filling vacancies in its leadership.

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