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CSOs protest against crisis in state institutions

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….seek the intervention of LASG, LSHA for quality education

By Ebunoluwa Sessou

A coalition of Civil Society organisations on today in a protest stormed Lagos Assembly calling for intervention of the state government as well as state assembly to end the crisis in all the state institutions including  Lagos State University, LASU, Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH, as well as Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, AOCOED. 

In a letter submitted to the House, which was jointly signed by the United Action for Democracy, UAD, Sahara Education Development Initiative, SEDI, Work bond International Network, WIN, and Committee for Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, the coalition stated that the dismissal of ASUU leaders prompted the peaceful rally.

The CSOs also  demanded the reinstatement of five ASUU-LASU officials “illegally dismissed by the Prof. Bayo Ninalowo-led governing council, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lanre Fagbohun.”

It further requested the Governor to constitute a visitation panel to the institution as a matter of urgency.

Other demands of the coalition were immediate reinstatement of ASUU-LASU check-off due illegally stopped by Lanre Fagbohun since January 2019. Immediate promotion of union officers and loyalists who were said to have been denied promotions by the university administration.

They also called on the Governor of the state to investigate N198 million pension funds of LASU staff used to buy exotic cars and Immediate investigation of the N1.3billion NEEDs funds mismanaged by Prof. Obafunwa and Fagbohun.”

One of the leaders of the group, Mr Kunle Wiseman Ajayi urged the government to resolve the matter soon.

He noted that the protest would persist until their demands are met. “Nigerians are suffering, the country is rich yet our people are suffering. Why are we suffering? They are wasting our resources, they are even using our resources to fight us,” he said.

He added that there were several issues in all the tertiary institutions in Lagos State and that all the ivory towers in the state were in a big mess.

According to him,  “The people that are leading the institutions are not leading intellectually, they are leading in a Gestapo manner.

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“When workers of LASPOTECH fought over the salary scale that has been accepted nationwide and has not been implemented in the school, 38 workers of the institution were arrested and detained in Kirikiri Maximum Prison.

“Just a week after, one of them died after they were released. Also, five of the Non-Academic Staff of LASPOTECH were victimised and unjustly punished.

“In fact, the high handed of Mr Sogunro of LASPOTECH is so much that he openly and brazenly disrespected the position of the Lagos State Government over the suspended LASU staff.

“The government of Lagos State said that all those who had been suspended should appeal and they did and we heard that the state government wrote the management of the school that the staff should be reinstated. But the management of the school had not reinstated.”

He said further that “five lecturers were undemocratically and unjustly sacked in LASU. We are demanding the immediate reinstatement of all the sacked workers in LASPOTECH and LASU.l”,  he said

His colleagues, Mr Omotaje  Olawale Saint, who said that they had held several meetings with the state government on some of the issues.

Saint said that the Visitation Panel to LASPOTECH was yet to work and that one of the people involved in the crisis had died, while one was in a critical condition.

“We want you to intervene on humanitarian on the sick workers, who became sick after the incarceration. We are asking for more and we don’t want it to be delayed.

“We want an urgent intervention of the government. The politicians are more eager to allocate jumbo salaries and allocation to themselves. When it comes to education and the economy, they neglect them. They only want increments for themselves,” he said.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Senior Staff of Nigerian Polytechnics, Mr Oluseye Ero-Phillips said that they had appealed on the basis of the demands and that they were under pressure from their colleagues.

“Just last week five of our colleagues were dismissed in LASPOTECH after just 24 hours trial.

“Some of them are in prison now. When you are going to work, it is either you will be arrested or you will die.

“As we are talking, five of them have been dismissed, two are in Kirikiri and 30 have been slated for a sack and they are facing disciplinary panel.

“We urge that the Visitation Panel should begin to work as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Responding on behalf of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the  Majority Leader of the House, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, stated that he represented the constituency, where the incident was happening.

He was joined by Mr Bisi Yusuff from Alimosho Constituency 1.

Agunbiade stressed that the case was not new to the House and that they had interacted on it.

The lawmaker added that the case of LASPOTECH was not brought to the House by the lecturers or students of the school, but that he brought the case before the House.

He, however, expressed disappointment with the representatives of the workers that met with the committee of the House on the matter in the past.

Vanguard

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