The management of the Lagos State University (LASU) has denied that the sack of some lecturers of the institution was an act of witch hunt. This denial is coming as some of the dismissed members of staff claimed they were hammered over their vibrancy in unionism.
The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, while addressing pressmen on Monday stated that due process was followed towards determining the sack of 15 lecturers and 2 nonacademics as announced by the Governing Council after its 115th meeting held on Thursday 7th September, 2017. In the VC’s words “The University acted strictly in conformity with her rules and regulations.”
Recall that among the sacked academic staff were the duo of the LASU Branch Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewunmi and Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu. The press conference was called specifically with respect to these two fellows.
“The cases of these two (2) individuals have nothing to do with Union related activities, thus, the University sees the frantic efforts being made by some individuals to make these cases a Union issue as a deliberate ploy to distract and hoodwink members of the public,” he said.
He noted that the case of Oyewunmi was investigated following a petition by one Abiodun Davies Alabi aka Abiodun Adebola Jolaosho, addressed to the management accusing Oyewunmi of demanding money to process students’ results. In that letter, the Lagos State Governor, the Deputy Governor, the House of Assembly Speaker, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education were copied. Also copied were the Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor of LASU.
The VC recalled that he acted on the petition he received by requesting that Dr Oyewunmi comment on it but Oyewunmi denied the allegations. However, three other members of staff mentioned in the petition were equally called and all testified that Oyewunmi indeed demanded money from the students.
EduCeleb learnt that these served as premises to set up a 5-man Fact-Finding Panel headed by Professor Michael Ikhariale. The panel deemed it that Oyewunmi had a case to answer. The Panel reached the conclusions after calling the Petitioner and four (4) other witnesses.
“It was based on the report of the Fact-Finding Panel that a formal query was issued to Dr. Oyewunmi by Academic Staff Establishment, and the case was thereafter referred to the Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee on 3rd April, 2017,” the VC emphasized.
As for Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, the VC explained that his dismissal is a result of some “misconduct relating to alteration of marks”.
Adeyemi-Suenu was said to have facilitated the return of students of the Department of History and International Studies hitherto withdrawn from school. The VC had directed the LASU Integrated Data Centre (LIDC) to carry out a forensic audit of changes made during the 2015/2016 academic session.
Fagbohun expatiated that the forensic evidence linked the PF number and password of Dr. Adeyemi-Suenu to the alterations.
“I directed the Dean of the Faculty to investigate same. The Faculty of Arts set-up a 5-man Fact-Finding Panel on Wednesday 25th January, 2017. I received the Report of the Panel on 27th March 2017. There was a majority Report signed by four (4) members of the Panel (including the Chair, Dr. Abidemi Atolagbe, Associate Professor Department of English). The minority report was issued by Dr. Aboderin-Shonibare, who also happens to be the Treasurer/Financial Secretary of ASUU-LASU. The position of the majority report was that Dr. Adebowale-Suenu had a case to answer.” he continued.
“In consequence of this, a query was issued to him on 3rd of April, 2017 by Academic Staff Establishment to explain his involvement in the allegation of alteration of results. He denied the allegations in his response of 5th April, 2017,” he said.
The LASU Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee, which the case was referred, found Adeyemi-Suenu culpable for actually altering students’ results beyond what was legally acceptable. His misconduct served as the premise for the dismissal, going by the provisions of the Conditions of Service Guiding Senior Staff of Lagos State University, 2008, which states that manipulation of student’s records and result attracts dismissal as sanction.
In a related development, we had earlier reported that the 47-member Body of Professors and Associate Professors issued a Communiqué supporting the management’s decision to punish erring members of staff. The law professor believed that such a stand indicated that “the University will not allow our respected Union to be used by few individuals to protect unethical selfish personal agenda.”
He also assured students and members of staff that his offices are open to all, should there be any need to report any unfair action. He thereof advised those who feel they were unfairly treated in the recent dismissal and demotion of staff to appeal through appropriate quarters.