A labour rights group, Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), has appealed to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to recall the five lecturers of the Lagos State University (LASU) who were sacked in 2017 and 2019.
The lecturers, who were executives of the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), were sacked by the Adebayo Ninalowo-led governing council.
The lecturers were accused of “unauthorised removal, retention and dissemination or publication of official confidential documents.”
The sacked lecturers include Anthony Dansu, Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education; Adeolu Oyekan, Lecturer 1, Department of Philosophy; and Kemi Abodunrin-Shonibare, an associate professor, Department of African Languages, Literature and Communication Arts.
The trio are the Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer of the university’s chapter of the ASUU, respectively.
However, in February 2022, the David Sunmoni-led governing council of the university reinstated the lecturers after an Appeal Committee headed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Adenike Boyo, cleared the lecturers of all offences and recommended their reinstatement.
But in a strange move, 48 hours after the governing council approved its appeal committee’s recommendation, the same governing council ruled to put the recall of the lecturers on hold.
The state government is yet to approve the reinstatement of the lecturers more than a year after.
In a statement on Tuesday signed by its national chairperson, Rufus Olusesan, and its publicity secretary, Chinedu Bosah, CDWR said it was “shocked” that the Mr Sanwo-Olu’s administration has refused to approve the recommendation of the university’s governing council on the reinstatement of the lecturers a year after.
“We consider the refusal to recall them a sign of executive lawlessness on the part of the Governor Sanwo-Olu administration and a betrayal of the vow the Governor made in November 2021 when it set up a 10-man visitation panel into LASU with a view to making the institution “the best in terms of quality research, pedagogical and administrative excellence, as well as industrial harmony,” the group said.
The group added that it is disturbed by the rumour that the state government is considering appointing the university’s former vice-chancellor, Olanrewaju Fagbohun, under whose leadership the lecturers were sacked, back as a professor at the university.
The group also berated the Nigerian labour movement for failing to take up the issue of the sacked lecturers.
“Meanwhile, the reign of silence from the labour movement while the Lagos State government rides roughshod over the rights of the ASUU-LASU 5 in LASU has become too deafening.
“So far, the Lagos Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) headed by Comrade Funmi Sessi has not lifted a finger to speak against the unjust dismissal of these workers’ leaders. While we acknowledge the work the Lagos NLC Council has done in campaigning for the right of workers in the state, especially casual workers and factory workers, it leaves much to be desired for the NLC Lagos State Council to continue to ignore the case of the ASUU-LASU 5 who are leaders of a branch of an affiliate of the Congress,” the group said.
“An injury to one is an injury to all. We hereby call on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Lagos and nationally as well as civil society organizations to publicly condemn the Lagos State government for this anti-worker disposition and call on the government to immediately recall the victimized workers. We urge them to organize solidarity actions including petitions, protests and demonstrations to back the call for the recall of ASUU-LASU 5.”
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