By Clifford Ndujihe & Gbenga Akanmu
Pained by the lull in the state’s tertiary institutions especially, the Lagos State University, LASU, following lecturers’ strike, the Lagos State House of Assembly has stamped its foot down with a determination to end the problem.
The legislators have called on Governor Babatunde Fashola to send the white paper and report of the visitation panel set up to look into the crisis that rocking LASU, to the House.
This is coming as other university staff have joined the industrial action. During a visit to the Ojo Campus of the university most offices were closed. There was no academic activity. A few lecturers were seen checking out information on their laptops.
A couple of office assistants were seen on their desks in some offices. At the Post-Graduate School, a former student, who came to collect her result was asked to come back after the strike because “nothing can be done now.”
A LASU staffer told Vanguard that Lagos was one of 10 states that had refused to implement the October 2009 agreement reached by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Federal Government and state governors.
The Chairman, ASUU-LASU, Dr Akinyemi Olusegun Kabiru hinged the dispute on the state government’s refusal to accede to the ASUU-FG agreement of 2009, which set the benchmark for the operation of universities in Nigeria. Akinyemi pointed out that the agreement was to essentially address the issues of condition of service, funding, university autonomy and academic freedom in the university.
Aside the 2009 agreement, LASU also had other issues including a push by a section of the staff to oust the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lateef Hussain.
However, the LASU staff, said their main grouse now was not removal of the Vice Chancellor. Let them pay us our money. Other weaker states are paying. There is no reason Lagos cannot pay,” the source said.
To find solutions to the lingering the problem, the House passed a resolution during plenary session last week, when Sanai Agunbiade under Matters of Urgent Public Importance raised the issue of recent strike embarked upon by LASU lecturers.
Agunbiade also referred to an advertorial in The Guardian of Friday, October 8, 2010, titled: “Programmes with Denied Accreditation Status in the Nigerian University System”, in which the commission denied LASU accreditation in 10 courses, which includes Law, Economics, Marketing, Chemical and Polymer Engineering, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Political Science, Sociology, Business Administration and Management Technology.
Agunbiade ,who noted that the students were again back at home due to strike embarked upon by lecturers, pointed out that the aftermath of the strike might lead the students into prostitution and other forms of crime.
He disclosed that when he put calls across to some lecturers of the school to find out the cause of the denied accreditation in some courses, “I was told that it has to do with insufficient infrastructure in the school and overcrowded classrooms among other complaints.”
While expressing worry over the development, the lawmaker explained that there was the need to look into education with the view of finding a lasting solution to the sector.
The Deputy Speaker, Bola Badmus-Olujobi and Babatunde Ogala, decried the situation and suggested that the House should call on those in charge of the education sector to come and explain to the House the cause of the non-accreditation of the 10 courses.
The Majority Leader, Taiwo Kolawole explained that the denied accreditation in some courses was a disgrace to the state. “I believe that the incessant strike by lecturers could be responsible for the denied accreditation”, he added.
The House also summoned the school’s Vice Chancellor, Deans of all the Faculties affected by the denied accreditation, ASUU-LASU to appear before the House yesterday. The parley was ongoing as of press time.
The Majority Leader, Agunbiade and Wahab Alawiye-King, the House ad-hoc Committee Chairman on Education were also mandated to get across to the NUC to find out the cause of accreditation denial.