• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Lagos residents protest dismissal of varsity lecturers, call for reinstatement

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Residents of Ikoga-Zebbe in Badagry Local Government Area have called on Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos state, to reinstate Tony Dansu and four other officers of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of Lagos State University (LASU), who they said were wrongly dismissed in 2019.

The residents expressed their displeasure about the dismissal during the protest in the community on Saturday. They called on Sanwo-Olu to intervene and reinstate Dansu and other officers.

The residents, during the protest, carried placards with calls such as “Dear Governor Sanwo-Olu, please correct this injustice. #RestoreDrDansu”, “Reinstate Dr Tony Dansu and others”, “Let justice prevail, Dr Tony Dansu’s integrity and service deserves commendation not dismissal”, “Dear Governor Sanwo-Olu, reinstate academic freedom”; “Dear people’s governor, show Lagos is committed to fairness.”

LASU Governing Council had at its 122nd meeting on the 12th of September 2019, promoted 31 academic staff members, 346 non-academic staff members, and also dismissed some lecturers of the varsity.

In a press release made available to our correspondent on Saturday by Mayowa John Adejobi, James Avoseh, Ademola Bokoh, Tinka Gabrie,.Francis Avoseh, Medemaku Noah; it was stated that between September 2017 and September 2019, five executive members of ASUU-LASU were dismissed by the previous Governing Council of LASU on the basis of frivolous charges brought against them by the administration of Professor Lanre Fagbohun.

These officers of the union are Dr Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi (Chairman); Dr Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu (Vice Chairman); Dr Anthony Dansu (Secretary); Dr Adeolu Oluwaseyi Oyekan (Assistant Secretary); and Dr Oluwakemi Adebisi Aboderin-Shonibare (Treasurer).

Dansu had earlier expressed that the management of the institution fired him and other executive members of ASUU for trying to expose some illegal acts perpetrated by the management of the school.

Before the dismissal of Dansu, Oyekan, and Aboderin-Shonibare had approached the court to challenge the trials by the university.

“This was based on the premise that they were about to be illegally dismissed in the same manner Drs. Oyewumi and Adeyemi-Suenu were dismissed in 2017,” the statement added.

Justice O.A. Obaseki-Osaghae of National Industrial Court of Nigeria Lagos in the ruling of the court in suit No: NICN/LA/493/2018 on July 11 2019, stated that under the freedom of information act and other relevant laws cited, the university authorities have no such powers to proceed against officers of the union in these cases; that both parties are creations of law, and must therefore respect the law.

Given that the issue was not due for judicial review since no damage had been done yet; even as the court was mindful of the breach of constitutional rights of the officers by the university authority, the two parties should go and follow the path of the law for the sake of peace, order and good administration in the university and its community,” it added.

The statement, however, expressed that the varsity proceeded with the trials and saw them conclusively to their dismissals.

In 2021, the new varsity administration under Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello requested for an out-of-court settlement of the cases which was said to have been followed by the reversal of the five dismissals, and reinstatement of the five officers by the new university governing council under the chairmanship of Sir David Sunmoni on the 23rd of February, 2023.

The reversal and the reinstatement came as a result of two committees’ reports that vindicated the union leaders.

However, in no less than 24 hours after the council resolution, “Lagos State government forced the university Governing Council to put the implementation of its decision on the union leaders on hold.

“This was on the premise that the council should wait for the release of the government’s white paper on the 2021 LASU visitation panel.

“Since February 2022, running to three years, nothing has been heard from the government on this matter,” the statement added.

The residents call on Sanwo-Olu, who is also the visitor to LASU to reinstate the affected officers of ASUU-LASU by lifting the embargo he placed on the implementation of the decision of LASU governing council on the five union officers.

They further request that all accrued financial entitlements and benefits be paid to the affected varsity lecturers; and promotions merited should be given without loss of seniority and entitlements.

Speaking to our correspondent on Saturday during the protest, Barrister Mide Abayomi, an indigene of the community and alumnus of LASU implored Sanwo-Olu to call back the lecturers back to work so that the varsity community can grow.

“We want governor Sanwo-Olu to reinstate the five lecturers to the varsity so that the current students of the institution could benefit from their expertise, which I and some others had benefited from in the past. LASU community misses them(the five affected lecturers),” he said.

Solomon Peter, another alumnus of LASU, urged Sanwo-Olu not to delay justice in the cause and act swiftly by considering the affected varsity tutors.

Peter said, “We are pleading that Sanwo-Olu reinstate Dr Dansu and four others. Let justice prevail. All the political, community leaders in the kingdom should please do the needful for the benefit of Lagosians and the institution community at large.”