UNILAG: Babalakin, Ogundipe appear before visitation panel

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Both the embattled pro-chancellor and the former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Wale Babalakin and Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, were among the invitees who have appeared before the visitation panel set up by the Federal Government to unravel the causes of the crisis rocking the institution.

Mr Babalakin, who was seen around the governing council chamber at about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, was visiting the campus for the first time since March when he was controversially declared persona non grata by the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Mr Ogundipe, who had earlier submitted a memorandum to the panel, also appeared on Monday to answer questions relevant to the panel’s enquiries.

The duo had earlier been ordered by the FG to recuse themselves from official responsibilities pending the conclusion of the task before the seven-member panel, which is chaired by a former vice-chancellor, Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, Professor Sa’ad Tukur.

Mr Babalakin, however, declined comment when approached by journalists shortly after he left the council chamber, venue of the sitting.

Meanwhile, other principal officers of the university who have appeared before the panel at different times between Monday and Thursday include the acting vice-chancellor, Folashade Ogunsola; two other deputy vice-chancellors, Ben Oghojafor and Oluwole Familoni.

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Others include both the university’s sitting registrar, Oladejo Azeez, and one of his predecessors and an internal member of the governing council representing the congregation, Oluworimi Shodimu.

Another external member of the council, Bayo Adaralegbe, was also fielding questions from the panel as of 1:50 p.m. on Thursday.

Mr Adaralegbe, who was reportedly invited by the panel based on a memorandum submitted, is an expert in energy and extractive industry litigation and dispute resolution and partner in Babalakin and Company – a law firm founded by Mr Babalakin.

Also, representatives of the staff unions on the campus including ASUU, Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), were also before the committee on Thursday afternoon.

It is, however, not clear if other parties who submitted memoranda would be invited by the panel as the panel has till Wednesday, September 9, to submit its findings and recommendations to the visitor, President Muhammadu Buhari, through the minister of education, Adamu Adamu.

Meanwhile, a notice of invitation to invitees by the panel which was signed by the secretary, Grace Ekanem, and dated August 27, only listed Mr Babalakin, Ogundipe, Azeez, deputy vice-chancellors, dean of students’ affairs, internal auditor, chief security officer, directors of works, physical planning, university’s bursar, and the chairman of the governing council’s audit ad hoc committee, Saminu Dagari, among a few others.

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