A major crisis is brewing at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo over the stoppage of the check-off dues of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by the management of the institution.
Our correspondent gathered that the Vice Chancellor of LASU, Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, on Monday, directed the stoppage of the check-off dues based on a petition from about nine lecturers who have been suspended from the union.
A letter dated January 14, and signed by the Deputy Registrar (VCs office), Mrs. A.A. Adesunkanmi and addressed to ASUU-LASU Secretary, Dr. Tony Dansu, said the account of the union was still being operated by the dismissed union chairman.
It reads: “The continued management and operation of ASUU-LASU Bank Accounts by Dr. Isaac Oyewunmi who was dismissed by the Governing Council of the university on 7th September 2017, borders on criminal conspiracy, fraud and corruption.
‘’The management cannot allow the mechanisms of the university to be used to aid and abet fraud and corruption. In the circumstances, the VC has directed the immediate suspension of remittance of check-off dues of members of ASUU-LASU to ASUU-LASU bank accounts pending when the management and operation of these accounts are properly regularised.”
In a swift reaction, ASUU-LASU in a letter signed by the Secretary, Dr. Dansu and Assistant Secretary, Dr. Adeolu Oyekan and addressed to the VC, said it was not the business of the university management to tell the union how to manage its funds.
The letter, a copy of which was also sent to the visitor and governor of Lagos State, his deputy, Chairman, House Committee on Education, Lagos State House of Assembly, Chancellor of LASU, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman and Governing Council of LASU, the union said it was not “abetting illegal operation of ASUU-LASU bank account” as falsely claimed by the management, stating ‘’for the avoidance of doubt, no union can illegally operate its own account.’’
ASUU- LASU further disclosed that in line with the constitution and extant practices of the union, only the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union can determine and recognise the leadership of, and signatories to a branch’s account. In this instance, Dr. Isaac Oyewumi is the recognised chairman in the ASUU-LASU branch.
The union reminded the VC that the purported dismissal of the chairman was still a subject of litigation in a court of law and that as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a law teacher for several years, the VC should know that this matter is sub-jaundiced.
“That Dr. Isaac Oyewumi and Dr. Adebowale-Suenu have been collecting a monthly allowance of N50, 000:00 each from the general monthly deductions of members of ASUU-LASU” is not only erroneous but clearly demonstrates a crass lack of understanding of the workings of our Great Union.
“For the avoidance of doubt, check-off deductions of all members including that of ASUU-LASU belong to the national body of our union and in line with its commitment to and solidarity with victimised members; it often gives a monthly stipend until the determination of their illegal dismissal by a competent court of law. ASUU-LASU is only discharging this obligation on behalf of the national body.
“In view of the foregoing, our union wishes to counsel that the university administration under your leadership, retrace its steps from this ignoble path which has become unfashionable in the annals of this university,’ the ASUU stated.
The former VC, Prof John Obafunwa, took a similar decision and the former Special Adviser on Education (SAE) to the ex-governor Fashola ordered him to lift the suspension on ASUU-LASU check-off dues.”