Gabriel Dike

Five days after he was appointed acting Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG) by the Governing Council, Prof Theophlius Soyombo, has not resume work.

Newsmen on Monday laid siege at the Senate Building and waited for hours for Prof Soyombo’s arrival without success. Rather, UNILAG security personnel questioned the presence of Journalists and asked on whose invitation they are on campus.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) UNILAG branch yesterday described Governing Council chairman, Dr. Wale Babalakin statement on Friday that Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was removed because of financial misconduct as mere allegation which has not been established by the Joint Council and Senate Committee as stated in the university Act.

Two police vans were spotted patrolling around the Senate Building and Council Chambers with armed personnel and also seen at the Faculty of Social Sciences, the personal office of the acting VC.

The governing council on Wednesday, August 12, removed Prof Ogundipe from office as the vice chancellor for alleged misconduct and appointed Prof Soyombo as acting VC.

As earlier as 8.30am, newsmen gathered at the Senate Building and waited for over two hours and later moved to his personal office at the Faculty of Social Sciences and again were questioned by UNILAG security personnel about their mission.

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The security personnel prevented Journalists from going to his personal office and had to wait outside for about one hour without success. Some of the workers told our Correspondent that they have not seen the acting VC around the Senate Building.

The new head of Information Unit of the university, Mrs. Olufadeke Akinleye, said she is not in a position to say anything on the issue.

Reacting to the statement credited to Babalakin that Ogundipe’s removal followed due process, ASUU chairman, Dr. Dele Ashiru said the allegations are mere allegations, adding ”if Babalakin says Ogundipe is a serial looter, why not take him through the procedure of trial which is the joint council and Senate committee.”

Said he: ”As far as the unions are concern, the allegations are yet to be proven, it remains mere allegations. There was no proper investigation. Babalakin denied the VC the opportunity to defend himself against the allegations.

”The Dagari committee is a fact-finding one. Our union forced him to take the report to council and was expecting Babalakin to constitute the joint council and Senate investigating panel. The university act stipulate that before a principal officer will be sack or remove, he or she must face the joint council and Senate committee. Babalakin didn’t do that and went ahead to remove the VC.”

On the acting VC, he said ASUU is not concern about whether Prof Soyombo has resume work or not but that the position of the staff unions is that the procedure for the removal of the VC did not follow due process.

Ashiru also confirmed that the staff unions petitioned the Minister of Education through the National Universities Commission (NUC), stating the position of the university act as regard the removal of principal officers.