Tony Dansu, the embattled Secretary of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos State University (LASU) Chapter, has pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to come to the rescue of the dismissed executive members of the union.
Mr Dansu, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, made the plea following the dismissal of three executive members of the union, and five other lecturers sacked by the university’s Governing Council.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the council had, at its 122nd meeting on September 12, promoted 31 academic staff and 346 non-academic staff.
The council also approved the dismissal of eight academic staff and three non-academic staff.
Their offences were based on issues bordering on abscondment from duty, certificate falsification, theft of confidential documents, sale of marks, among others.
Mr Dansu said that the affected union officials believed so much in the new administration of the state government and was hopeful that the governor would do the needful.
“We have written several letters to the governor and we know that he will come to our aid because he does not support any impartiality.
“Our dismissal was a struggle between the truth and falsehood, which is quite unfortunate that we found ourselves in this university system.
“The leadership of the university is actually doing the direct opposite of what the university stands for, by killing voices in the system.
“This is what the union is trying to check because we are the watchdog in the system and conscience of the nation,” he said.
The ASUU leader explained that the Lagos State House of Assembly had three weeks ago invited the union and the university management to address the issues.
The parliament reportedly advised that the two parties should sheath their swords and settle.
“The House asked the vice-chancellor to come up with a committee, with the hope of achieving three things including recall of the erstwhile chairman and vice-chairman of the union that were dismissed in 2017.
“Restoring the checkup dues that was illegally stopped by the management and stop the panel committee,” he said.
According to him, the assembly had directed that all the parties reconvene, after three months, to access the achievements, but the management has now broken the agreement.
Mr Dansu recalled that the union had expected that the vice-chancellor, on his appointment, would hold firmly unto the rule of law, being a professor of law.
“When he got here, we discovered that he continued with the trend which others have been doing before him.
“This nepotism does not pay a university; we insisted on transparency which he saw clearly, that union is going to give him a problem, so they decided to kill the union.
“That was the reason they came up with so many charges against the chairman and vice-chairman of our union in 2017 and also dismissed them,” he said.
Mr Dansu said that the union had also demanded an investigation on why the VC’s promotion was backdated from 2014 to 2008 because there was no Governing Council document to support it.
“Instead of the university management to address the issue, they queried me and the Assistant Secretary of the union, that we stole confidential documents.
Mr Dansu said that the affected union officials had approached the court to seek redress on the matter, and the court in its ruling also said that they have the right to official documents as unionists.
In his reactions, the university spokesman, Ademola Adekoya, said that the university proceeded with the disciplinary process, following a court judgment, which permitted it to do so.
Mr Adekoya said the court also ruled that following the decision of the university on the matter, the union could still approach the court for redress if they were not satisfied.
“They can either appeal, which is the procedure of the university, or go back to the court.
“The only body that can stop the process is the court. The Lagos State House of Assembly cannot tell us what to do, because that is an interference,” he said.
Mr Adekoya, however, noted that the decision of the dismissal was reached by more than a body, as it started with the Investigative Panel, Joint Committee of Heads and Council before the Governing Council made its final decision.
NAN also reports that the sacked staff were: Henry Gbelee of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Clinical Science and Oluwakemi Aboderin-Shonibare, Department of African Languages, Literature and Communication Arts and Treasurer, ASUU-LASU.
Others include Adeolu Oyekan, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, also Assistant Secretary ASUU-LASU and Anthony Dansu, Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education, also Secretary, ASUU-LASU.
The rest were Kehinde Coker of the Department of Religions and Peace Studies, Faculty of Arts; Oladapo Akinyemi, Pupil Engineer, Works and Physical Planning Unit; Alaba Odu, Faculty of Science; and Wasiu Busari, Security Unit, amongst others.
NAN recalled that LASU had in September 2017, sacked Isaac Oyewunmi, the erstwhile Chairman ASUU-LASU and Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, erstwhile Vice-Chairman, ASUU-LASU and 15 others.