The Federal University, Oye Ekiti, and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have reached an agreement to settle out of court on issues bordering on the suspension of the union’s chairman, Gabriel Ominojo.
The unionist was among others suspended in 2019 for contending with the management of the institution over sundry issues affecting the school. The unionists also allegedly disrupted a meeting of the university’s governing council.
He had approached the National Industrial Court in Akure seeking the quashing of the suspension as well as the payment of damages, including his entitlements.
Mr Omonijo, a senior lecturer in the Department of Water Resources and Agrometeorology, told the court that the investigative panel that recommended his suspension to the university was biased.
He said the members were hostile individuals who had prior issues with him.
He also said that his suspension without pay by the university was “wrong and unjust’,’ claiming that he was only invited in respect of the allegations made in the petition by ASUU to the Minister of Education.
In the suit with registration number NICN/AK/21/2019, filed by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Funmi Falana of Falana & Falana’s Chambers in Lagos averred that his indefinite suspension without pay by the university was illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of the provisions of the Trade Union Act.
Mr Ominojo confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday that the lawyers of both parties agreed sometime in March to settle out of court.
“It is true we are meeting to resolve the issues and settle out of court,” he said.
“A committee was earlier set up and it was agreed that an out of court settlement was the way forward.
“We are right now meeting and working out the terms of the settlement.”
Abayomi Fashina, the university’s vice-chancellor, first gave the hint of the settlement while speaking at an event in Oye Ekiti marking his 100 days in office on Saturday.
“As part of our efforts to restore orderliness and peace, we are bringing back Dr Omonijo and Mr Seun Odedeji who were suspended on accounts of their union activities during the time of my predecessor,” he said.
“We have promised this and we have opted for out of court settlement.”
100 days in office
At the Saturday event, Mr Fashina also advised his colleagues across the country to think outside the box to be able to fund their universities, saying no institution of learning could develop with sole and absolute reliance on money from the government.
On the cases of kidnappings and cult killings in higher institutions, Mr Fashina said the university was investing in intelligence gathering and digital gadgets to monitor the campus and apprehend evil doers before perpetrating their nefarious activities.
“God is the one bankrolling us. If you think outside the box, you will do many things,” he said.
“We are going into partnerships with bodies, organisations and well meaning individuals for them to invest here. We are also using our vast human resources to achieve results.
“We are also blocking leakages to be able to raise our IGR and these have been paying off.”
Mr Fashina said Nigeria had not been able to achieve food security status despite its human and material resources because the government paid lip service to agriculture.
“We have provided modern agriculture implements in the faculty of agriculture,” he added.
“We are putting our students into cropping with the hope to empower them after graduation.
“Students must learn the skills for survival. Agriculture has a lot of value chain, to me, farming is a way of life.”
Mr Fashina, who inaugurated some projects, promised to provide modern structures and road networks to connect the school, give it aesthetic value and increase quality of education within the next one year.
He said he had flagged off the landscaping of the school to correct erosion, create parking spaces and add aesthetics to the university.
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