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21 November 2017
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the recent politically-motivated dismissal of the Chairman of the Lagos State University (LASU) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi and his vice, Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu.
Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi and Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, both union leaders and lecturers in the University, were dismissed on trumped-up charges bothering on extortion and alteration of results. However, a careful examination of the allegations and in particular the processes leading to their dismissal shows that the allegations are unfounded and the panels merely worked, in a teleguided manner, towards a predetermined agenda to dismiss them.
It is not at all strange that shortly before their current ordeal ASUU LASU including these two leaders had been at the forefront of agitations against a series of illegal appointments and impunity of the Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun-led management. The dismissal is nothing but payback. The ERC hereby demands their immediate and unconditional recall to their duty posts.
In addition, we call for an independent panel of inquiry composed of competent Nigerians and representatives of the labour movement, professional groups, alumni association, parents and students to look into the allegations and the processes leading to the dismissal of the two union leaders.
As far as we are concerned, LASU is a public institution funded by tax-payers money. Therefore, when controversies like this break out, the public has a right to seek to know the truth by means of an independent inquiry.
Unlike what the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, would have the public believe, the dismissal is not an effort to rid LASU of corruption and nepotism but a grand plot to cow the unions on campus using dirty means including slamming on their leaders false allegations in order to portray them as criminals.
For instance, Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi was alleged to have demanded, way-back in 2011/2012, and through a third party the sum of N50, 000 from some students in order to process their results. On his own part, Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu who until his dismissal was the acting Head of the Department of History and International Studies was accused of altering students' results.
In the case of the ASUU Chairman Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi, not only was there no credible evidence against him, the so-called audio tape recording presented at the panel by the principal witness, Dr. O.T.F Abanikannda, was played only up to a certain point leaving out other vital areas which confirm Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi's innocence of the charge. Also, the petitioner was found to have graduated since 2013 while claiming before the panel in 2017 that Dr. Isaac Oyewumi had prevented him from graduating. Similarly for ASUU LASU Vice Chairman, Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, he was allegedly found guilty of altering students' results despite the evidence of staff members of the department and hard evidences including minutes of departmental meetings showing that every alteration for which he was being alleged were discussed and approved by the entire department.
This method of calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it is not at all new. As the public would recall, it was similar method of persecution of staff union leaders together with anti-poor policies of fee hike which the previous administration of Prof. Obafunwa embraced that threw LASU into needless crisis and turmoil years ago. This was exactly the same manner Prof. Obafunwa orchestrated the withdrawal of the PhD of the then ASUU Chairman, Dr. Adekunle Idris just because ASUU was openly critical of his various undemocratic and anti-poor policies including the fee hike which was imposed on students then.
We therefore call on well-meaning Nigerians, trade unions, human rights organizations, alumni and other concerned groups to call on the Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun-led University management not to throw LASU into another needless crisis and to openly support the demand for an independent panel of enquiry on the allegations against the ASUU leaders.
They should also urge the Prof. Fagbohun-led management to hands off the unions by recalling the wrongly dismissed union leaders as well as putting a halt to other attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and association in LASU.