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I never sat over UNILAG VC’s case, judge says as he strikes out suits

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I never sat over UNILAG VC’s case – judge

Justice J.I. Essien of the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday urged the University of Lagos (Unilag) Governing Council and the Senate to embrace peace.

The judge gave the advice while striking out two suits challenging the removal of the university’s Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

The suits also challenged Ogundipe’s replacement with Prof. Theophilus Soyombo by the governing council.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogundipe and the Senate of the University had filed applications before the court to discontinue the suits.

“Controversy is not good for the image of a university.

“We hope that peace will reign because when two elephants fight, in this case, the grass will wither,” Essien said.

The judge said that he was glad that the parties decided to withdraw the suits.

He, however, said that having been a dean of a faculty and member of a university senate, he would have determined the case properly and settled the controversy.

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Essien said the court never sat over any of the cases until Aug. 24, because he had not read the files.

He described as false, a report that he refused the hear an ex-parte motion filed by Ogundipe, challenging his removal.

“I was surprised on Saturday when a colleague of mine drew my attention to news that I heard this motion and refused it.

“The situation is very bad because it is a misrepresentation of court proceedings,” the judge said.

The judge said that if he had sat on the matters, he would have done substantial justice to them, being a professor of law who left teaching to become a judicial officer.

NAN reports that one of the suits was filed by Ogundipe to challenge his removal by Unilag Governing Council.

The other was filed by the university’s senate to challenge Ogundipe’s removal and his replacement with Soyombo by the governing council.

Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) applied for the withdrawal of Ogundipe’s suit while Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) applied for the withdrawal of the senate’s suit.

There was no objection by Mr Tola Oshobi (SAN), who represented Babalakin in both cases.

Consequently, Essien struck out both suits.

Osipitan assured the judge that “maturity will prevail”.

NAN

Vanguard News Nigeria

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