The Lingering LASU Crisis

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JAF and ASUU, LASU branch protest in Lagos

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The crisis rocking the Lagos State University over the increase in school is lingering while the state government looks unperturbed

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Feb. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THERE is no end in sight to the crisis rocking the Lagos State University, LASU. The Joint Action Front, JAF, on Wednesday, January 28, joined in the call to the Lagos State government to caution John Obafunwa, vice chancellor of the university, to ensure the institution was not plunged into another round of crisis. Dipo Fashina, chairperson, JAF, made the call at the protest march in support of LASU students, lecturers and non-academic workers who demanded a reversal of the institution’s tuition fees.

According to him, if the state government does not intervene in the brewing crisis, it would not be out of place to conclude that they are the one using the university administration to victimise the staff and students activists. He said the peace that returned to the institution shortly after the reversal of fees has been breached by the university’s administration, as atmosphere of fear and intimidation has been imposed on the campus.

Fashina also asked the state government and the school’s management to refund the money collected from the students before announcing fees reversal and stalled promotion cases of staff earlier tagged as promotable, but not promoted due to lack of vacancies. “We also reject Lagos government’s insistence on Prof. Obafunwa as VC of LASU despite vote of no confidence passed on him by both the students and the lecturers” adding that any attempt to increase school fees by any party that wins the Lagos State gubernatorial election will be resisted, he said.

Obafunwa
Obafunwa

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, LASU chapter, said the university is sliding into chaos, alleging that Obafunwa has been intimidating and harassing students and lecturers to cover up his incompetence. ASUU said if the state government did not intervene in the crisis on time, the consequence might be unbearable for the state.

Adesola Nassir, ASUU Lagos zonal coordinator, said the protest was to draw the attention of stakeholders and Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State governor, who is the visitor to the university, to urgently check the impunity in the school. “Our union, in a bid to further encourage the Lagos State government to do the needful and help LASU to redirect its gradual descent to crisis, joined other civil society groups to stage the rally. This is to call the attention of the good people of the state and the Governor Babtunde Fashola administration to the brewing crisis at LASU. If the governor does not arrest the crisis, we are certain the consequence would not be in the interest of the government,” he said.

Nassir regretted that the state government had yet to respond to the union’s initial call to caution the VC for his excesses, urging it to institute an investigative panel to look into the situation. He alleged that the VC had abused the laws and regulations of the institution, just as he intimidated and victimised both students and members of staff. “It is clear to us that the VC is never tired of instigating crisis for LASU and the government, just to cover his incompetence. Our union is disturbed that the Lagos State Government has continued to turn its face away from these brazen anomalies. We therefore wondered what level of crisis will prompt the government to act right and act fast in arresting the drift at LASU.”

According to Nassir, the national leadership of the union only recognised the Adekunle Idris-led executive at LASU. And that ASUU national executive committee does not know the faction led by A. S. Asokere and Olukayode Aiyeniko, in the university.

Meanwhile, the national leadership of ASUU had on January 21, criticised Obafunwa over the alleged withdrawal of doctorate certificates of Adekunle Idris, chairman of ASUU, LASU chapter and 18 others. Beke Sese, zonal coordinator, ASUU Port Harcourt zone, accused LASU VC of high handedness, witch-hunting and plotting to destabilise the LASU branch of ASUU.

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