*We will end crisis – Speaker
BY EBUN SESSON AND IKENNA ASOMBA
The crisis rocking Lagos State University (LASU) over the blocking of 1,292 students from the institution’s portal that would have enabled them to register their 2012/2013 second semester courses took a twist, on Friday, as the university management insisted that the school remained shut down, noting that the damage of the students Thursday protest was unquantifiable.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, after a meeting with members of the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA), on Friday, disclosed that the management was uncertain when the school will re-open as an assessment of the damages caused by the students’ protest needed to be carried out and measures taken to clean up the university.
Under a matter of urgency in its plenary session, on Thursday, the House had summoned the VC and his management team, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Mr. Bode Agusto, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga, and members of the Students’ Union Government to appear before it in order to ascertain the root causes of the chaos, while proffering solutions.
When Sunday Vanguard visited the Ojo main campus and other external campuses of the university, yesterday, they remained under lock and key, with fierce looking policemen manning the gates.
At the Ojo main campus, the police stationed no fewer than 10 vans and two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) at the gates.
While speaking to Sunday Vanguard, Obafunwa said: “We have photos of the extent of the damage to the school properties. The damage is unquantifiable. I cannot say, for now, when the school will be re-opened for examinations to continue. I must say that this protest goes behond the issues of not registering for courses, some unscrupulous elements hijacked it to perpetrate mayhem against the school. However, our primary concern now is to get the school ready for students to write exams and for the final year students to be mobilised for their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
”But, I can’t say for now when the school will be re-opened. We have to do a full assessment of the damages and see how to clean up the university. The administrative offices, including mine, the library and other school properties were vandalized by the protesting students. Before now, we were optimistic that the university will end the 2012/2013 academic session by February, and then, by March, the 2013/2014 session commences, but with this sordid situation which was not precipitated by us, the students have drawn us back.”
Asked if the school would punish any student found culpable, he said: “We are not concerned about that. Our major concern is to clean up the school, and call students back for their exams, so that the final year students can be mobilized for service.”
Meanwhile, Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, says there will be an end to the LASU crisis.
Speaking during an on-the-spot assessment of damages to school properties during the protest, Ikuforiji said the incident would not repeat itself.