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Babalakin, unions testify before UNILAG visitation panel

Chukwuebuka.NwaforChukwuebuka Nwafor
  • 5 Sep

Leaders of three of the four workers’ unions at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) testified on Thursday before the special visitation panel probing the institution’s affairs.

The chairmen of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) were admitted into the Council Chambers, venue of the hearing, at 2 p.m.

ASUU Chairman, Dr. Dele Ashiru, said the union had a team of four for the hearing, but he was the only one allowed into the venue.

Kehinde Ajibade represented NASU in his capacity as the union’s chairman on the main campus; Tunde Aderibigbe represented NASU, College of Medicine, Idi-Araba campus; SSANU was represented by its Acting Chairman on the main campus, Olusola Sowumi, and Acting Chairman of the Idi-Araba campus, Michael Olofindiran.

No member of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) was present as at press time.

When asked about Babalakin’s presence on campus, despite ASUU declaring him a persona non-grata, as he was about to enter the Council Chambers, Ashiru said Babalakin, who appeared before the panel in the morning, was not on campus in his official position.

“Babalakin came here as Wale Babalakin and not as Pro-Chancellor. In line with the directive of the Federal Government, he has been recused as Pro-Chancellor.

“It is gratifying that someone who was playing the lord of the manor can now be made to appear before a panel,” he said.

After appearing before the visitation panel, Ashiru said the issues the union raised included the flawed composition of the Governing Council.

He said the faulty composition was the root cause of the crisis in the institution.

The union leader noted that a member of the Council, Bayo Adaralegbe, who works in Babalakin’s law chambers, claimed to be from Rivers State to get appointed into the Council. Ashiru said Adaralegbe is from Ekiti State.

The union leader also said Babalakin, who is from Osun State, claimed to be from Ekiti State.

The Chairman of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Sulyman Lawal, said his group was neutral and opposed to impunity.

He said the group was only interested in due process in the affairs of the university.

Babalakin declined to comment on his appearance before the special visitation panel.

The ousted Pro-Chancellor said he made his presentation to the panel, chaired by Prof. Tukur Sa’ad, but refused to give details.

“Nobody has spoken to the press since the visitation panel started. You know you are all my friends.

“I have made my presentation and that’s all. I have no comment,” he said before entering a black sport utility vehicle (SUV) packed in front of the Council Chambers.

The ASUU will appear before the panel today at 2 p.m.