VC says randy professor under security probe
By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Following the killings of two students, Okonofua Joseph and Dada Kehinde during a protest last week, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Com. Bamidele Akpan and Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof Kayode Soremekun have signed a peace pact on the restoration of peace and orderliness to the institution.
The peace deal includes the restoration of light to the town by Benin Electricity Distribution Company, lifting of the ban on students’ union government, reopening of the institution, among others.
The NANS President in the company of NANS’ leadership met with the VC on Wednesday where they agreed to work together and make concessions for peace to reign.
The students were killed during a protest last Tuesday in Oye Ekiti, where students had attacked the convoy of Ekiti first lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi.
Speaking during the parley, Akpan said: “We are here in a very sad note first to sympathize with the management and students of the school on the unfortunate students. We have been in Ekiti for three days doing the fact-finding. We had sent an advanced team to see if, and to ensure that students with the capacity to foment trouble are not allowed to do so. No students have been seen fomenting any trouble.
” Having completed our findings. We came to the realization that our students did what they had to do within the ambience of the law.
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“In this case, none of that had happened, students protested peacefully and after all that the President was summoned by the police and that was when the trouble started.
” We have heard about the closure of the university which was done to ensure that normalcy returned. We appeal that it is time to reopen the school with the assurance that nothing bad will happen. We have to take care of all of that with the students and we are all on the same page.
” We also want to call for your support for the SUG, I have also spoken with the agencies in charge of power and they have promised to do the needful. The students have one or two requests which they wanted me to amplify, first is the availability of street lights which will make movement easy for students at any time on campus.
“Let us allow student SUG in the interest of the school management, may I appeal to you to lift the ban on the students union”.
” The SUG of FUOYE has not done anything wrong and an attempt to victimize any of them will not be in the interest of any of us. I beg of you to reconsider your stand on the proscription of the SUG”.
The Vice-Chancellor of FUOYE, Prof Soremekun, said the management had visited the families of the bereaved
“Prof. Bolaji Aluko has told me that there is a contract of power for the nation’s university system and they will factor FUOYE in it.
“Regarding street lights, we intend to go into solar but we need money for that. This country has many tertiary institutions, which are all being run by FG. We only access very small money from the FG and what we have is not enough we are only supplementing that with fees from students.
“Our fees are low but the huge number of students can help. We will put the street lights in place once students begin to pay.
“We are having the Council meeting on 3rd and 4th of October, 2019 where we will discuss the issue of reopening. What we did is to put the SUG of FUOYE on hold in order to reorganize, and reassess the situation, to see if it is possible to engage in a paradigm shift.
“Even though we have proscribed the SUG, I have been picking the calls of the executives and they can testify to this. Once I meet with the University Council, we will sort out all these issues”.
The VC reassured that: “We have agreed that the university will be reopened it is only a mechanics of when that will happen. There are different statues provided for universities. With what the statutes provide for us, I can’t reopen the varsity without the senate. Our fees the VC deposed is not exorbitant.
“About the Professor who allegedly ravaged a female student, I am happy you mentioned this, and I will give you an account of what happened. When the issue was brought up, the then dean of students’ affairs set up a panel. Before I could act, we had a senate meeting in which many were very vociferous about the issue. I cautioned them not to overact so we would not be seen as prejudging the case as members of the panel to probe the matter will be drawn from among them
“If I wanted to save him I would have allowed the Senate to continue to vent their anger because it would have amounted to prejudging the case. A good lawyer would have had the chance to extricate the offending Professor. I subsequently set up my own panel based on the rules of the university, and when I saw the findings I was outraged and I decided to suspend the Professor with a view to putting him before the staff disciplinary committee. At that point in time, he threw in his letter which was odd and when I consulted opinion, I was advised that I could not stop him”.
” I am a father of six daughters and I share deeply the pain of the poor girl. A well known Reverend Sister in this University had also approached at the urgings girl’s parents and they pleaded that they didn’t want the case pushed further, probably to protect her image. But in spite of that, I still went ahead with the case”.