Protesting workers of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, have denied a report by the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Isiaq Oloyede, that two of his men were attacked in Lagos on Monday during the conduct of the mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
They described it as a “blatant lie and a figment of the imagination of whoever is behind such report.”
Addressing journalists in Abuja earlier on Monday, Mr Oloyede condemned the attack on his men.
He also said efforts were on to investigate what transpired.
“The very first sad thing that we noticed was that two of our staff were almost murdered in Lagos. There was an attempt on their lives at the Lagos State Polytechnic. For whatever reason, they were wet (doused) with petrol, and they were to be set ablaze.
“We have sent a rescue team, and they took them to the hospital. We are still looking into what happened, but we have evacuated our staff from the place.”
But speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, the Chairman of the polytechnic’s chapter of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), Abiodun Awoyemi, denied the allegation.
He said the campus gates were already locked and that policemen were on the ground monitoring the activities of his members, whom he noted ”had been staging peaceful protest since they embarked on industrial action on January 20”.
He said; “When we read about the report this afternoon, everyone was shocked. We had thought maybe there was another LASPOTECH, Ikorodu campus elsewhere. Not a single individual was touched by anyone, not to talk of attempting to set them ablaze. Where and when?
“The only scene we could link to this happened on Friday when both the ICT Director and the Dean of Students’ Affairs, Dr Adegoke and Mr Bamkole respectively, were only peacefully asked to leave the ICT centre because they were not meant to be in the office.
”They were escorted outside the campus, and that was all. The DPO of Ikorodu-Sagamu Road was even on campus and witnessed the Friday scene.”
The Chairman of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) on the campus, Semiu Fasaasi, also corroborated the account of his SSANIP counterpart.
He said he was shocked at the news.
“That is the biggest fake news I have ever seen in my life.”
PREMIUM TIMES had, last week, reported the closure of the school’s three entrance gates by the striking non-academic workers of the institution.
The striking workers including members of SSANIP and NASU had embarked on strike since January over what they described as the ”wrong implementation” of Consolidated Tertiary Institution Salary Structure (CONTISS) 15 migration by the management of the school.
They, on March 27, barred both students and staff of the polytechnic including the Rector, Samuel Sogunro, from gaining entrance into the campus.
The complete shutdown of the polytechnic on Wednesday, according to the workers’ unions, was a reaction to the management’s decision to pay the March salary of the academic staffers and leave them out.
Meanwhile, the mock UTME conducted by JAMB on Monday recorded low turnout across the country, with many of the scheduled persons to sit the examination staying away from the centres.
The low turnout might not be unconnected to the shift in the dates earlier scheduled for the test, due to the general elections. JAMB had announced shift in the mock test twice between February and March.
Many CBT centres monitored by PREMIUM TIMES where the mock test held, showed that a large number of the candidates did not turn up for the tests.
There were also cases of candidates who turned up but did not have the mandatory N700 required as service fee payable to private CBT centres.
At Wisdom House CBT Centre on Yaya Abatan Road, Ogba in Lagos, out of 159 allotted to the centre, only 85 took part in the examination. Also at Malicomp Computer at Oyemekun Area on College Road, only 103 of 250 candidates took part in the examination.
The situation was the same across Kwara, Kano, among others, where members of the civil society and media observed the conduct of the examination as well as the ad-hoc staff of JAMB.
The conduct of the examination was however with little or no hitch across the many centres visited.