Four Staff Unions – Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) – of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have rejected the removal of the university’s vice-chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, by the Governing Council of the institution.
The council had on Wednesday removed Ogundipe from office, citing serious acts of wrongdoing, financial recklessness, gross misconduct and abuse of office against his name. It subsequently appointed Professor Omololu Soyombo of the Faculty of Social Sciences, UNILAG, as acting vice-chancellor of the university.
But on Thursday, at a joint meeting, all staff unions of the university condemned the removal.
In a joint statement titled, “JOINT CONDEMNATION OF THE DR. WALE BABALAKIN-LED COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS, FOR ITS UNJUST, UNGODLY REMOVAL OF THE UNIVERSITY VICE-CHANCELLOR, PROF. OLUWATOYIN OGUNDIPE”, they described Ogundipe’s sack as “illegal, vexatious, unjust, vindictive, and tantamount to jungle justice.”
According to them, due process was not followed in removing the vice-chancellor from office.
They noted that Ogundipe was not notified of the allegations, was not given fair hearing, and no investigative committee was set up to probe the allegations.
The staff unions, therefore, called on the Federal Government to stop “this charade and lawlessness being perpetrated by the Dr. Wale Babalakin-led University of Lagos Council.”
“A joint meeting of the four Staff Unions (ASUU, SSANU, NASU, NAAT) of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, held on Thursday, 13th August, 2020 unanimously condemned the illegal and purported removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, FAS,” the statement said.
“Our Unions are surprised that a Council constituted by law and chaired by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) could have violently and most lawlessly violate the law of the University of Lagos in the said removal of our Vice-Chancellor.
“According to the University of Lagos Act, laws and practice of other Universities not only in Nigeria but in other civilized climes, a principal officer cannot just be removed on flimsy excuses without regard to laws.
“The four Unions of all workers in the University of Lagos hereby declare the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, FAS as illegal on the following grounds:
i) No notification to the Vice-Chancellor on the allegations against him
ii) No investigative panel was set-up to investigate the allegations against the Vice-Chancellor in line with University Act.
iii) Lack of fair hearing
iv) No formal report from any Investigative Committee
v) No consideration of report of an Investigative Committee since none was set up as provided for in our law.
“Against the foregoing background, the Staff Unions of University of Lagos, hereby condemn in its totality the purported removal of our Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as illegal, vexatious, unjust, vindictive, and tantamount to jungle justice. We therefore affirm our absolute confidence in the leadership of Prof. Toyin Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.
“Therefore, the position of the Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos is not Vacant.
“Our unions are using this medium to call on the Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to stop this charade and lawlessness being perpetrated by the Dr. Wale Babalakin-led University of Lagos Council given its potential for causing disharmony and industrial instability in the University of Lagos.
“We take this opportunity to call on all our members and other stakeholders in the University of Lagos to continue to maintain peace and go about their normal businesses with the assurances that the Federal Government of Nigeria will stop this illegality in the interest of the rule of law and justice without further delay.”
The statement was signed by Chairman, ASUU, UNILAG, Comrade ‘Dele Ashiru; Chairman, SSANU, UNILAG, Comrade Olusola Sowunmi; Chairman, NASU, UNILAG, Comrade Ajibade Kehinde; Chairman, NAAT, UNILAG, Comrade Sulyman Lawal; Chairman, NASU CMUL, Idi-Araba, Comrade Tunde Aderibigbe; and Secretary, NASU CMUL, Idi-Araba, Comrade Ayo Alli.