By Adesina Wahab & Elizabeth Nwandu
The Secretary, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Lagos State University, LASU, chapter, Dr Tony Dansu, has accused the management of the institution of sacking him and two other executive members of ASUU for trying to expose some illegal acts perpetrated by the management of the school.
Speaking to Vanguard yesterday on Thursday’s decision of the Governing Council of LASU to dismiss him and two other executives from the service of the school, Dansu also alleged that the Council acted in contempt of a court order.
The two other ASUU executives dismissed are Dr Adeolu Oyekan, the Assistant Secretary and Dr Kemi Abodunrin-Shonibare, the Treasurer.
The fourth ASUU executive member, Dr Hamza Edu, the Financial Secretary, was warned after being accused of divided loyalty.
However, Dansu, Oyekan and Abodunrin-Shonibare were accused of unauthorised possession and use of official documents.
Specifically, they were accused of illegally accessing the official file of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, at the Faculty of Law and taking some documents from it.
“You will recall that in 2017, in September to be precise, when they dismissed our chairman and our vIce chairman, the union called that victimisation. Our dismissal that happened on Thursday has made it clear to the whole world that it is a case of victimisation of the union by the school management.
“What happened is this, everything that surrounded this issue, if you check the charges against me and my two other colleagues, they said we have been dismissed for using confidential official documents. In the age of Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, is there anything like an official document?
“And then, the question to ask them is that what is in that official document that they are alleging we used? The whole thing surrounds the illegality around the professorship of the Vice-Chancellor,” he said.
However, the Coordinator, LASU’s Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, Mr Ademola Adekoya, said the three ASUU leaders axed by the Governing Council were found guilty of committing theft of official documents.
He also added that trio engaged in unlawful use of official documents contrary to the rules and regulations of the university.
Adekoya stressed that there was nothing illegal that the lecturers wanted to expose concerning the management of the school, saying the management had nothing to hide.
“You need to read our release to know why they were dismissed. They said that they were dismissed because they raised the allegation that the professorship of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, was backdated.
That is not correct. The professorship of the Vice-Chancellor was not unduly backdated. However, it was backdated based on the terms that were binding at the time he was due for promotion which was approved by the Governing Council.
“It is not a new thing at the university. But, like I said when they saw a document, rather than looking at it critically, they did not know what transpired, they just went ahead and alleged that there was a fraud. They also indicted the former Registrar accusing him of helping the VC to backdate his promotion for a professorship.
“Everyone knows that there was no basis for that. But because they wanted to bring the VC down, in the process of doing that, they went to take a document from the VC’s file at the Faculty of Law. Unfortunate for them, they attached it without looking at it. When they were asked how they got it, they couldn’t answer. That action is a theft.
“In the conditions of service in the university, if you display such a document without any approval, one, it is a theft, two, unlawful use of the school’s document is another offence. This is punishable in the university, and the outcome of it is dismissal. These are the allegations against them. All the infractions they committed, the punishment is dismissal. If you are within the confine of the law, you will not be dismissed,” Adekoya stated.
Recall that the relationship between ASUU and the management of LASU has not been cordial since 2017 when the ASUU Chairman, Isaac Oyewunmi and the Vice-Chairman, Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu were dismissed from service over alleged misconduct.
Twelve other staff members were sacked then.
The union also decided to take some steps to get even with the management and that led to the allegation of irregularities in the appointment of Fagbohun as the VC.
During Thursday’s meeting, the Governing Council also dismissed five other staff members and warned some.
It is not yet clear what the national leadership of ASUU would do about the matter, as Dansu said they had been briefed.