The Lagos Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has appealed to the state Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to stop alleged attacks on its members in the Lagos State University (LASU).
The zone’s Coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, made the appeal at a news conference on Tuesday at the University of Lagos.
He alleged that ASUU members in LASU were being incessantly attacked by the administration of the institution.
According to him, ASUU members in LASU have continued to suffer undue harassment because they refused to trail `the path of injustice’.
“In the last three years, our union in LASU has been seriously involved in engaging the institution’s management over illegalities and arbitrariness.
“Many of these issues, as we highlighted in the past, have to do with abiding with the laws and regulations of the university in appointments and promotions, as well as general administration.
“It also has to do with the continuous cover up of the management, of over N1.3 billion of NEEDS Assessment Fund by the preceding administration, which our union continued to demand its probe.
“Recall that the NEEDS Assessment Fund was a product of the ASUU strike of 2013.
“The union has also been consistent in agitating for payment of accrued Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) of our members which has accumulated for not less than 10 years,’’ he said.
Sowande said that all public universities in Nigeria except LASU had begun payment of the EAA.
He alleged that in the face of all the issues, the management of LASU responded by clamping down on ASUU members in the institution.
According to him, the development led to unjust dismissal of LASU ASUU chairperson and the vice chairperson in 2017.
According to the coordinator, ASUU has challenged the dismissal in court.
The don said that LASU had intensified the attack on LASU ASUU by planning to dismiss the remaining executive committee members on one excuse or the other.
“It has been one false allegation or other fictitious claims,’’ the coordinator said.
He told journalists that the union went to court to challenge the activities of both the immediate past and current administrations of LASU on what he described as illegal promotions.
“Our union went to court over these matters, and we have been informed that there is a ruling on a preliminary objections by the university, by the National Industrial court on Thursday, July 11.
“While we await the certified true copy for proper understanding of its implications, the university administration has gone ahead to resuscitate the panels that were suspended at the commencement of court proceedings.
“The union drew the attention of the former Visitor of the university, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to many of the developments via about 30 official reports.
“In spite of assurances from many quarters in government, including the ministry of labour and establishment, as well as the head of service to look into the matter, nothing was done,” he said.
The unionist said that the alleged indifference encouraged continuous misconduct by LASU management.
“It is, therefore, on this premise that we are calling the current Visitor of the university, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to put an end to these attacks.
“It is infantile for anyone to think there can be true peace in the university when ASUU becomes an object of incessant attacks on account of its principled opposition to illegalities and lawlessness.
“While our union is known for its conventional approach to challenges of this nature, we must make it clear that the LASU administration, emboldened by the quietness in government quarters, is pushing toward a crisis it will soon be unable to manage.
“There is an endurance limit to relentless and assault;
we also wish to bring to the attention of the LASU visitor that the institution is overdue for visitation,’’ he added.
According to him, the law establishing the university states that there shall be visitation at least once in five years.
He said that it had been 10 years l since the last visitation to the institution – in 2009.
“As the visitor begins to shop for more credible and knowledgeable people to make up the governing council for the next four years, it is important that he makes the job of that governing council easy by constituting a visitation panel in accordance with the law,’’ he said.
The coordinator also called for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all queries issued to the ASUU members by LASU management.
“We also demand the payment of the EAA of our members which have been accumulated for 10 years.
“ASUU is a union committed to the rule of law, fairness and justice within the university system and the general public.
“It will continue to play this roles in LASU, notwithstanding the threats of annihilation.
`The union will also not shy away from doing everything possible to prevent its decapitation by lawless university administrators,’’ he said.