By Gabriel Dike
The Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, owes seven cooperative societies N440 million due to non-remittance of deductions by the immediate past vice-chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun.
The Education Report investigations revealed that the non-remittance to the seven cooperative societies dates back to March 2019.
One of the officials of the affected cooperative societies said the outstanding remittance owed under the immediate past VC at the end of his tenure stood at N440 million.
Last year, the university’s management, through the coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations (CIPPR), Mr. Ademola Adekoya, told The Education Report that non-remittance was due to shortfall in subvention to the university and COVID-19 pandemic that affected internally generated revenue (IGR).
The seven cooperative societies are ANUPA (Ojo) CMS, Glorious (Ojo) CMS, Progressive SSANU (Ojo) CMS, First General CMS, ASUU (Ojo) CMS, Al-Halal (Ojo) CMS and Joint University Staff (Ojo) CMS.
Many members of the cooperative societies wondered why the former VC, Prof. Faybohun, paid staff salaries but failed to remit staff deductions to the seven societies.
Before Fagbohun’s exit, it was gathered that the seven cooperative societies’ debt stood at N515 million.
The Education Report gathered that the acting VC, Prof. Oyedamola Oke, promised to pay November and December remittances in January 2021, thus, outstanding debt stood at N440 million.
In a memo to the former VC, the committee of LASU Cooperative Societies’ Management executives demanded positive and quick response from the university to the plight of the seven societies occasioned by the non-remittance of monthly deductions from salaries.
The executives, in the letter to Fagbohun, outlined outstanding monthly deductions from staff salaries due to the cooperative societies from April to November 2020.
The breakdown are: April, no 2020 remittance was made, in May, June, July, August and September, 50 per cent of deductions was remitted; in October 2020 the total sum to the seven societies were remitted and in November 2020 no remittance was made.
“The present situation has put a heavy financial burden on cooperative societies in the university to the extent that it has become near impossible to meet up with statutory obligations to members of our individual societies.
“You will agree with us, sir, that, if this trend continues, this may lead to the death of the once thriving cooperative societies in the university.
“Consequent on the above, we are left with no choice than to demand the remittance of the whole sum being owed cooperative societies by the university, before the end of the fiscal year 2020,” the executives stated.
A source told The Education Report that the letter was written when the seven societies were jointly owed over N700 million in December 2020.
“The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives also wrote the former VC in December about the debt. So, the university paid six societies for November and December 2020 but claimed that the bankers of ASUU Cooperative Society, Ojo, had not changed the name of the cooperative in the bank’s book
“We were informed that the November and December 2020 remittance for ASUU cooperative (N75 million) would be remitted in January 2021. If that is truly done, then outstanding owed by the former VC’s administration at the end of his tenure would be N440 million,” the source explained.
When contacted, the CIPPR coordinator said, “I don’t have any information on the cooperative societies’ deductions and remittances. The only person that can talk on this is the university bursar.”