Lagos residents protest, demand reinstatement of dismissed varsity lecturers

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Residents of Ikoga-Zebbe in Badagry Local Government Area, Lagos State, staged a protest on Saturday, calling on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to reinstate five dismissed officers of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of Lagos State University (LASU).

 

The protesters, carrying placards with various messages, demanded justice and reinstatement of Dr. Tony Dansu and four other ASUU officers who were dismissed in 2019.

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According to the protesters, the officers were wrongly dismissed by the previous LASU Governing Council on frivolous charges brought by the university administration.

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The residents urged Governor Sanwo-Olu to intervene and correct the injustice, stressing that the dismissed officers deserve commendation for their service and integrity.

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The protest came after the LASU Governing Council dismissed some lecturers and promoted others in 2019. The protesters claimed that the dismissed ASUU officers were targeted for their union activities and demanded their reinstatement to restore academic freedom and fairness in the university.

The protesters’ demands were contained in a press release signed by Mayowa John Adejobi, James Avoseh, Ademola Bokoh, Tinka Gabrie, Francis Avoseh, and Medemaku Noah, among others. They called on Governor Sanwo-Olu to demonstrate his commitment to fairness and justice by reinstating the dismissed officers.

These officers of the union are Dr Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi (Chairman); Dr Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu (Vice Chairman); Dr Anthony Dansu (Secretary); Dr Adeolu Oluwaseyi Oyekan (Assistant Secretary); and Dr Oluwakemi Adebisi Aboderin-Shonibare (Treasurer).

 

Dansu had earlier expressed that the management of the institution fired him and other executive members of ASUU for trying to expose some illegal acts perpetrated by the management of the school.

 

Before the dismissal of Dansu, Oyekan, and Aboderin-Shonibare had approached the court to challenge the trials by the university.

 

“This was based on the premise that they were about to be illegally dismissed in the same manner Drs. Oyewumi and Adeyemi-Suenu were dismissed in 2017,” the statement added.

 

Justice O.A. Obaseki-Osaghae of National Industrial Court of Nigeria Lagos in the ruling of the court in suit No: NICN/LA/493/2018 on July 11 2019, stated that under the freedom of information act and other relevant laws cited, the university authorities have no such powers to proceed against officers of the union in these cases; that both parties are creations of law, and must therefore respect the law.

 

 

Given that the issue was not due for judicial review since no damage had been done yet; even as the court was mindful of the breach of constitutional rights of the officers by the university authority, the two parties should go and follow the path of the law for the sake of peace, order and good administration in the university and its community,” it added.

 

The statement, however, expressed that the varsity proceeded with the trials and saw them conclusively to their dismissals.

 

In 2021, the new varsity administration under Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello requested for an out-of-court settlement of the cases which was said to have been followed by the reversal of the five dismissals, and reinstatement of the five officers by the new university governing council under the chairmanship of Sir David Sunmoni on the 23rd of February, 2023.

 

The reversal and the reinstatement came as a result of two committees’ reports that vindicated the union leaders.

 

However, in no less than 24 hours after the council resolution, “Lagos State government forced the university Governing Council to put the implementation of its decision on the union leaders on hold.

 

“This was on the premise that the council should wait for the release of the government’s white paper on the 2021 LASU visitation panel.

 

“Since February 2022, running to three years, nothing has been heard from the government on this matter,” the statement added.

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The residents call on Sanwo-Olu, who is also the visitor to LASU to reinstate the affected officers of ASUU-LASU by lifting the embargo he placed on the implementation of the decision of LASU governing council on the five union officers.

 

They further request that all accrued financial entitlements and benefits be paid to the affected varsity lecturers; and promotions merited should be given without loss of seniority and entitlements.

 

Speaking to our correspondent on Saturday during the protest, Barrister Mide Abayomi, an indigene of the community and alumnus of LASU implored Sanwo-Olu to call back the lecturers back to work so that the varsity community can grow.

 

“We want governor Sanwo-Olu to reinstate the five lecturers to the varsity so that the current students of the institution could benefit from their expertise, which I and some others had benefited from in the past. LASU community misses them(the five affected lecturers),” he said.

 

Solomon Peter, another alumnus of LASU, urged Sanwo-Olu not to delay justice in the cause and act swiftly by considering the affected varsity tutors.

 

Peter said, “We are pleading that Sanwo-Olu reinstate Dr Dansu and four others. Let justice prevail. All the political, community leaders in the kingdom should please do the needful for the benefit of Lagosians and the institution community at large.”

 

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