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LASU’s convocation threatened as workers shut out VC, others


Lagos State University

Lagos State University

ACADEMIC and sundry activities at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, were yesterday grounded to a halt, furthering the school’s reputation as a troubled entity.

This was as a combined team of staff members temporarily locked out principal officers of the institution, including the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, and his two deputies, professors Senapon Bakre (Academics) and Fidelis Olisamedua Njokanma (Management). They were later on chased out of the campus thereby calling off the coconut breaking ceremony that was to hold.

The consortium of protesting staffers that shut major entrances into the institution in the early hours of yesterday, consisted of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of University, NASU, National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria University (SSANU).

A source within the school, which asked not to be named, claimed that ASUU was not part of the protest. The breakdown of law and order has, however, raised concerns over the smooth execution of activities lined up for this week’s 20th convocation ceremony of the institution.

Among other things, the workers were protesting their alleged non-promotion over the years and appointment of contract staff while the formalisation of casual workers in the school’s employ remains in abeyance.

Just before 7 am yesterday, the protesting workers barricaded the two entrances- the Badagry Expressway and Iba gate- that lead into the Ojo main campus. They huddled together and in the process turned back vehicular traffic that were headed for the institution.

The barricade erected by the unionists vehicles, barred principal officers, staff members and students from gaining access into the institution.

Expectedly, the protest development gave birth to serious traffic snarl along the ever-busy Igando-LASU road as the road was narrowed down to a single lane.

Obafunwa, who arrived at one of the entrances alongside his lieutenants, was booed and heckled by the protesters who demanded the immediate settlement of their entitlements by the schools authorities.

With his vehicle refused entry, the vice chancellor elected to walk into the school complex to inspect some of the ongoing projects expected to be commissioned by Visitor to the school and Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, as part of activities marking the convocation ceremony.

As he ventured deep into the school compound, he was booed while some irate workers pelted him with packs of sachet water and showered him with invectives. The presence of policemen from some police formations and campus marshals did little to deter the workers from venting their spleen.

The workers later invaded the offices of some principal officers, whom they accused of working hand-in-glove with the school’s management to downplay workers’ interests.

Commenting on the protest, chairman ASUU-LASU, Dr Adekunle Idris, explained that a number of unfortunate incidents on campus, orchestrated by the school’s management gave birth to the protest.

He cited the treatment meted to one of their members, Prof. Tunde Fatunde, as well as withdrawing of some members’ PhD certificates and Obafunwa’s comments on the pages of newspapers that some LASU staff were parading spurious credentials.

“Even workers elected into the council of the university have not been given letters by management to attend council and senate meetings,” Idris added.

Calls put across to the vice chancellor’s cell phones as at press time were unsuccessful.

Efforts to also reach the LASU-NASU chairman, Albert Agosu, were unsuccessful as his mobile line was switched off.

Meanwhile, authorities of the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), have cancelled the 2014/2015 Student Union Government (SUG) elections, which it claimed were inconclusive.

The election gave birth to a crisis, which allegedly led to the killing of four students. The school authorities have, however, refuted the deaths.

At an emergency meeting of the college’s management, the school also resolved that, “student unionism in the college is suspended with immediate effect and till further notice.

A memo from the registrar of the institution, Biekoroma C. Amapakabo, in the wake of the meeting added that, “The following students are suspended with immediate effect pending conclusion of investigation by the Student’s Disciplinary Committee: Shabiolegbe Olawale Moshood, Awoleye Oluwatosin Emmanuel; Akeem Afeez Adeniyi; Lawal Akeem Oladele; Aremu Wasiu Olayinka; Faniyi James and Bidemi Abdullahi.”

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