University of Lagos (UNILAG) has reacted to threat by the local branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to disrupt the Governing Council Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
UNILAG ASUU had in a statement on Saturday threatened a showdown with the university’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr Wale Babalakin, if he attempts to visit the university.
But in a statement issued by Registrar and Secretary to Council, Oladejo Azeez Esq, on Sunday, it asked Nigerians to ignore the union’s threat.
In the statement titled Re: Threat by ASUU to disrupt the Governing Council Meeting, the Registrar stated that: “The attention of the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr Bolanle Olawale Babalakin, SAN has been drawn to the notice of Congress by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos branch, scheduled for Wednesday, 15th of July, 2020 at the Foyer of the Council Chambers.
“I have the instruction of the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council to inform members of the University Community and the general public as follows:
1. It is important to note that Council had earlier issued a notice for the Council Meeting commencing on the same 15th of July 2020.
2. This Council Meeting, apart from being statutory was also requisitioned by the Vice Chancellor of the University.
3. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, FAS recently requisitioned the meeting to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin on May 11, 2020 and June 26, 2020 respectively.
4. The time and topic by ASUU for their Congress clearly indicate its plan to disrupt the Council Meeting, especially since it has issued several threats to prevent the Pro Chancellor from coming to the University.
5. This action is violently against the provision of Section 41, subsection 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) ( Fourth Alteration), which guarantees freedom of movement of Nigerians within Nigeria.
6. ASUU as a trade union under the laws of Nigeria is also expected to know that Section 4 of the Trade Union Act states that ‘No person shall subject any other person to any form of constraint or restriction in the course of persuasion.’
7. Obviously, ASUU, University of Lagos Chapter has shown clearly that it is a group that does not adhere to the Constitution of Nigeria or the Trade Union law which it is a part of.
8. As a responsible Council, we will not engage ASUU, University of Lagos branch on issues that are beyond its duties, powers and responsibilities under the laws of Nigeria.
9. We therefore advice all law abiding Nigerians to discountenance the action of the leadership of ASUU, University of Lagos branch and go about their legitimate duties as they will be protected under the laws of the federation.”
UNILAG has been embroiled in a union and leadership crisis with ASUU, the Governing Council, Babalakin and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at the centre.
In March 2020, ASUU passed a vote of no confidence in Babalakin, declaring him a persona non grata on the campus.