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Court frees 19 Osun State varsity workers over protest

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Asks six others to open defence

Following a no-case submission, an Osun State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Osogbo has discharged and acquitted 19 of the 25 workers of Osun State University (UNIOSUN) accused of staging a protest against the university management during the 2018 convocation.

The court, however, asked six other defendants standing trial for the same offence to open their defence.The aggrieved union leaders and members of the institution had in 2018 protested against alleged unpaid entitlements and financial impropriety by the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Labode Popoola, on the day of the convocation.

The 25 indicted workers of the institution, including principal officers of the school’s Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), were accused of assembling unlawfully.

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The defendants had through their counsel, Amole Joseph, entered a no-case submission after the prosecutor, Mr. Moses Faremi of the state’s Ministry of Justice, had established his case.

Faremi said that the defendants blocked the lawful entry of students and invited guests using different types of cars to cause the obstruction.

“The actions of the accused are contrary to and punishable under Sections 518 (5), 70, 249 (3), 71 and 518 (7) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Osun State, 2002.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the four-count-charge preferred against them, stating that they were only fighting corruption in the university through a peaceful protest.

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The Presiding Magistrate, Opeyemi Badmus, in his ruling on the no-case submission, said that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against 19 of the 25 workers.

Badmus said that the 19 workers had no case to answer and therefore asked them to go home.He said that six other union members, whose vehicles were allegedly used to block the road during the peaceful protest, should enter their defence since the prosecutor had established a prima facie case against them.The magistrate thereafter adjourned to September 16, 2020 for the six workers to enter their defence.

The 19 freed UNIOSUN workers include Isaiah Fayemi, Olabiran Olayinka, Tiamiyu Qwowiyu, Adefemi Lateef, Olayinka Oluwafemi, Ogunleye Yewande, Raji Kareem, Adeleke Ismaheel, Ojeleke Fisayo, Ojoniyi Temitope, Owooh Hameed, Lawal Dauda, Olokooba Ajani, Dada Kunmi, Adebayo John, Adeyemo Olusola, Lawal Basiru, Adekanye Sola and Eweje Timi.The six other defendants are Adiat Kadir, Odeniyi Olakunle, Adewuyi Saheed, Abiodun Olalekan, Ajulo Adetunji and Kayode Adeboye.

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Labode PopoolaUNIOSUN
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