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UNILAG pro-chancellor, Wale Babalakin resigns

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wale Babalakin has resigned as the pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos.

 

Babalakin conveyed news of his resignation in a letter dated September 15, 2020 and addressed to Adamu Adamu, the minister of education.

 

The pro-chancellor who sent in his resignation after he was suspended by the federal government, said his decision was based on many “vested interests” asides other issues he raised.

 

The resignation letter read;

 

“I would like to thank the President of the Federal of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (the “University”) from May 2017 till date.

“I am also grateful that I was considered fit to be the Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions in 2009, from 6th January 2017 till date. I equally want to thank you sir, for your role in recommending me to the President.

“Recent events have made my position in these two offices untenable.

“I led the Governing Council of the University to remove the Vice-Chancellor of the University from office for amongst other reasons: (a)Corruption and financial recklessness; (b)Forgery; (c) Complicity in the collapse of the University library and planned cover up; (d) Deliberate policy of wrongfully concealing information; ( e) Depriving the Faculties in the University of funds; (f)Concealing and distorting finances of the Internally Generating Units of the University; (g)Undermining the academic process and seeking to appoint a Professor by fiat; (h) Siphoning of the University’s funds through dubious contract awards; (i)Undermining the office of the Registrar; (j) Failure to follow due process in organizing the University’s convocation ceremony; and (k)Sponsoring or acquiescing in the unconstitutional actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter.

“Sir, it is noteworthy that all the Federal Government Representatives who are the independent members on the Governing Council voted for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.

“After calm had been restored in the University, the Visitor acting within his powers, set up a Presidential Visitation Panel to review the actions taken by Governing Council.

“The Vice-Chancellor (who had been removed from office) and myself were told to recuse ourselves for the duration of the Visitation Panel.

“I find it difficult to understand how a non-executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during the visitation

“The Vice-Chancellor could only recuse himself if he were still in office. Implicit in this position is that the Vice-Chancellor was acknowledged as still being in office despite his removal.

“The terms of reference of the Visitation Panel clearly indicated to any discerning person that the Visitation Panel was empanelled to exonerate the Vice-Chancellor and implicate the Pro-Chancellor.

“For easy reference, the terms of reference of the Visitation Panel are:

  •  To review the report of the Council sub-committee on review of expenditure of the University of Lagos since May 2017 and make appropriate recommendations after affording all those indicted an opportunity to defend themselves;
  • To examine the steps taken by the Council leading to the removal of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, and ascertain whether due process was followed as stipulated in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the principle of fair hearing adhered to;
  • To determine whether the process (if any) leading to the appointment of the acting Vice Chancellor for the University was consistent with the provisions of the enabling Act;
  • To make appropriate recommendations including sanctions for all those found culpable by the special visitation team on the allegations contained in the report as well as other subsequent actions arising therefrom; and
  • To make any other recommendations that will assist the government to take decisions that will ensure peaceful, stable and effective administration of the University.

“As stated earlier, the Vice-Chancellor was removed for various reasons and not just as a result of the findings contained in the Dagari Report. Items (b) and (c) were directed at the Pro-Chancellor and Governing Council.

“Unfortunately, those items deal with the interpretation of the laws of the land. The appropriate forum to determine the laws of the land is a court of law or a judicial tribunal. It cannot be determined by academics of a different discipline no matter how distinguished. These terms of reference are ultra-vires the Visitation Panel as constituted.”

The membership of the Visitation Panel is simply inappropriate in the circumstance. How can a committee of Vice-Chancellors determine the culpability or otherwise of the actions of a Pro-Chancellor and a Governing Council?”

“On the face of it, it is simply wrong! Furthermore, the Vice-Chancellors on the Panel were drawn from relatively smaller universities who are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure contained in the University of Lagos Act (as amended).

“Even Vice-Chancellors of state universities were included. As Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team, I know the challenges faced with the administration of state universities.

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“I only appeared before the Panel out of my very great respect for you, Sir. My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the Panel was inappropriate for the assignment.

“During my appearance, I made it very clear that I was appearing in protest and the Panel, as constituted, could not determine the issues before it. The active participation of the staff of the Ministry of Education in the Panel and their contributions throughout the sittings especially the hounding of witnesses who came to testify against the Vice-Chancellor was enough to show very clearly that the technocrats in the Ministry had a defined agenda.

“Their obvious agenda was to humiliate the Governing Council. Sir, fortunately there is a verbatim recording of the proceedings of the Visitation Panel, and you may wish to direct objective persons to listen to the recording.

“I am particularly relieved by the comment of the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al Amin El-Kanemi CFR on the situation in the University. In a letter dated 15th September 2020 and addressed to your good self (which I was copied), His Royal Highness stated thus:

“I have discovered that there are too many vested interests in this matter, who are not approaching the issues objectively. For this reason, I strongly advise that the Visitation Panel should not submit any formal report to the Minister that may hinder my ability to deal with the issues comprehensively

“I have served the university system in Nigeria with my heart and intellect. Amongst other offices, I was:

  •  Pro-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (2009 – 2013);
  • Chairman, Council of Pro-Chancellors of all Federal Universities (2009 – 2013);
  • Chairman, Federal Government Implementation Team of the 2009 Agreement (2009 – 2013);
  • Chairman, Federal Government Negotiation Team of the 2009 Agreement (2017 till date);
  • Pro-Chancellor, University of Lagos (2017 till date).

“These were made possible by a system that provided resources and also ensured proper monitoring of the resources.

“The educational system in Nigeria requires more funding but most importantly, it requires prudent management of the limited resources.

“It was my determination to ensure that the limited resources of the University of Lagos were properly utilized that motivated me to lead the Governing Council to take the decisions which the Governing Council took.

“In all these positions that I have held, I did not receive any remuneration. Specifically:

“I did not receive any sitting allowance. I did not receive any tickets or travel allowance.

I did not receive or use any official car.

In the University of Maiduguri and University of Lagos, I did not allow the institutions to provide me with food or drinks. I paid for every right or privilege that was conferred on me.

“Even when I travelled to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I paid for my ticket and my expenses.

“I did not obtain any contract from the education sector in my relative long sojourn in the sector.

“My motivation for my actions is that I had the best education that an intellect could provide in Nigeria and abroad. It is my fervent desire that every Nigerian should have the sort of opportunities I had.

“I remain very grateful to all the members of the Federal Government team on the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, namely: Alhaji Ali Hussein; Rev. Yomi Kasali; Dr. Bayo Adaralegbe; and Dr. Saminu Dagari.

“It would be very difficult to find a group of more selfless persons than these individuals. It is acutely hurtful that I am leaving before achieving our goal of sanitizing the University of Lagos, and turning it to a reference point in Africa and the world, rather than the unenviable poor position it now occupies.

“Unfortunately, I must stand by principle. In a situation where my employers believe that the actions I took may not be right, the appropriate thing to do is bow out in honour. Sir, may the Almighty Allah continue to bless you.

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Education

Student seen going to school with a stove to be used as a chair in class

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A photo of a student going to school with a kerosene stove to be used as a chair in class has been shared online.

 

In the photo, the student is seen walking to school, her school bag in one hand and the furnace tank of a kerosene stove in her other hand.

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Twitter user Onyeoma Bold shared the photo to Twitter and wrote: “While running this morning I saw this child going to school with this as sitting stool, this is 2020 and this can’t be happening!!”

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Student seen going to school with a stove to be used as a chair in class

 

Twitter users reacted, stating that the incident happened in Ebonyi state and it’s not unusual to see such things in the state.

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Below are some reactions.

 

Student seen going to school with a stove to be used as a chair in class

Student seen going to school with a stove to be used as a chair in class

Student seen going to school with a stove to be used as a chair in class

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Rivers varsity suspends three male students who gang raped 100 level female student, bans intersex visits to hostels

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The Management of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rivers State has suspended three male students who gang raped a 100 level female student.

 

The Vice – Chancellor of the institution, Professor Ozo- Mekuri Ndimele, who confirmed the incident in a statement on Saturday, October 17, gave the names of the affected students as Nnamdi Destiny of Department of Political Science, Ovunwo Henry of Sociology Department and Samuel Valentine, a 300 level student of Political Science.

The first two suspects were arrested and handed over to the Police, while the third accused is still at large. Prof. Ndimele said efforts were on to apprehend the fleeing suspect.

 

“The first two have been arrested and handed over to the police, while the third has run away from school. But we must get him. The matter has also been referred to the Students Disciplinary Committee to decide their fate. The room where the crime was committed has been sealed off and all occupants driven out of the hostel.” said the VC.

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It was gathered that the 19-year-old victim (name withheld) was said to have visited her male friend Destiny at Hostel C, Room 20 located inside the campus. Upon arrival, Destiny grabbed the female student and raped her after which two of his friends who entered the room gang raped her.

Other students within the hostel premises were alerted by the noise in the room and raised the alarm when they observed what was going on.

 

The two male students were arrested on the spot with the help of the President, Student Union Government, Destiny Omunakwe.

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The suspects were later handed over to the Rumuolumeni Police Division in Obio /Akpor Local Government Area of the State.

Meanwhile, the university management has banned opposite sex visit by students of the institution.

 

“The Registrar of the University has been directed to issue a memo banning inter-sex visits at any time of the day. Any student found guilty of visiting the opposite sex in the hostel, no matter the time of the day, puts himself/herself and the occupants of such a room at HIGH RISK. We must be our sisters’ keepers. It is a huge shame!” said Prof. Ndimele.

 

Confirming the incident, spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said the police have launched a manhunt to apprehend a third suspect currently on the run after taking part in the crime.

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“First person lured her into his room , under the pretext that he was going to assist her in charging her phone and then had sex with her . The other two who happen to be his friends had unlawful sexual intercourse with her,” said the PPRO.

“From what we have gathered, it’s like there is a hostel in that university that is notorious for this infamous act where students take their victims to and forcefully have sex with them. We will interface with the school authority. We are going to take appropriate measures to ensure that matters like this do not occur again in that campus.” Omoni added, noting that the matter involving the two arrested persons has been transferred to the State Criminal and Investigation Department.

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SSANU and NASU announce plans to begin 14 days nationwide warning strike

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The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU) and the Non- Academic Staff Union(NASU) have announced plans to embark on a 2-weeks warning strike beginning from Monday, October 5.

 

The two groups jointly declared plans to embark on the industrial action after a meeting of its Joint Action Committee(JAC) today Friday, October 2.

 

Addressing newsmen shortly after their joint congress held at the University of Lagos(Akoka), the chairmen of SSANU and NASU of UNILAG branch, Olusola Sowunmi, and Kehinde Ajibade, said the strike is general and involve all public universities in the country.

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They said the action is a directive from the national leadership of the two unions to all their branches nationwide. According to them, the associations decided to embark on the strike so as to press home their demands on contentious issues from the federal government.

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They listed them to include non-payment of arrears of their national minimum wage for 10 months, inconsistency in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS), non-payment of arrears of their earned allowance since 2012, non-showing of seriousness in renegotiating their 2009 agreement, neglect and poor funding of state universities, corruption and non-constitution of visitation panels as well as a usurpation of headship in non-academic matters by the academic staff as the contentious issues.

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The associations warned that they will proceed on a total strike should the Federal government fails to address all their issues while their warning strike lasts.

ALSO READ:  Rivers varsity suspends three male students who gang raped 100 level female student, bans intersex visits to hostels

 

The associations say all their members had been mobilized for compliance with the directive.

 

This development comes amidst the 7-month old strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU which is still ongoing.

 

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