Four labour Unions of the University of Lagos have condemned the purported removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, by the Governing Council, describing it as unjust and illegal.
This was contained in a statement jointly issued at the end of a joint meeting of the four staff unions on Thursday in Lagos.
The four unions are the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Senior Staff Union of Universities, Non-Academic Staff Union and National Association of Academic Technologies.
The chairmen who signed the resolution were ASUU, Dr Dele Ashiru; SSANU, Olusola Sowunmi; NASU, Ajibade Kehinde; NASU Chairman of College of Medicine, Idi-Araba, Tunde Aderibigbe; and SSANU Secretary, CMUL, Ayo Alli.
The unions unanimously condemned the removal.
They said: “Our unions are surprised that a council constituted by law and chaired by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) could violently and lawlessly violate the law of the University of Lagos in the said removal of the vice chancellor.
“According to the University of Lagos Act, laws and practice of other universities not only in Nigeria, but in other civilised climes, a principal officer cannot be removed on flimsy excuses without regard to laws.
“The four unions of all workers in the university of Lagos, hereby declare the removal of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, illegal on the following grounds.
“No notification to the vice-chancellor on the allegations against him, no investigation panel was set up to investigate the allegations against him, in line with the university’s Act.
“There was also lack of fair hearing, as there was no formal report from any investigative committee.”
They noted that there was no consideration of report of an investigative committee since none was set-up as provided for, in the institution’s law.
They said: “It is against the foregoing background that the staff unions of the university condemn in its totality, the purported removal of our vice-chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; it is illegal, vexatious, unjust, vindictive and tantamounts to jungle justice.
“We, therefore, affirm our absolute confidence in the leadership of Prof. Toyin Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.
“Therefore, the position of the vice-chancellor of University of Lagos is not vacant.
“Our unions are using this medium to call on the Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to stop this act of lawlessness being perpetrated by Dr Wale Babalakin-led University of Lagos Governing Council, given its potential for causing disharmony and instability in the University of Lagos.
“We take this opportunity to call on all our members and other stakeholders in the University of Lagos to continue to maintain peace and go about their normal businesses with the assurances that the Federal Government of Nigeria will stop this illegality in the interest of the rule of law and justice without further delay.”
NAN reports that Ogundipe’s purported removal was contained in a statement issued by the Registrar of the institution, Oladejo Azeez, on Wednesday.
The lingering face-off between Ogundipe and the Chairman, Governing Council of the institution, Dr. Wale Babalakin, worsened on Wednesday as the council announced the removal of Ogundipe from office.
The announcement came after a meeting of the council in Abuja.
It was gathered that 12 members of the council were present at the meeting and seven voted for Ogundipe’s removal, four voted against it and one voted that he be placed on suspension.