By Appolos Christian
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has expressed dissatisfaction on the recent constituted visitation panel at the University of Lagos by the Federal government.
SSANU in a letter signed by its President Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke, and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that the directives by the Federal government through the ministry of education have a further tendency to cause more crisis as issues bordering on due process and fair hearing have been trampled upon arising from the Visitor’s directives.
The Association went on to say that the composition of the Special Visitation Panel with a preponderance of Professors who are members ASUU is an indication that the decisions of the Panel would be tampered with by ASUU.
The fact that they are former Vice- Chancellors also implies the tendency to protect one of their own – an embattled Vice-Chancellor.
The union therefore called for a re-composition of the Panel “to reflect neutrality, fairness and proper representation and not using ASUU to probe itself as the situation currently is. The principle of natural justice is lost in the present composition of the Visitation Panel and it is totally condemned by SSANU.”
Ugwoke said further that an interesting dimension to the Visitors’ directive to convene a Senate meeting without a Vice-Chancellor in place is an aberration as the Registrar is not empowered by any law to summon Senate unilaterally.
He stated, “The directive of the Visitor to the effect that the University of Lagos Senate should hold a Special meeting to elect an Acting Vice-Chancellor conflicts with Paragraph 3(iii) of the same Visitors directive.
“In one breath, the Visitor directed the Visitation Panel 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, while in another breath, directing that the Senate meets to nominate an acting Vice-Chancellor for confirmation by the Governing Council.
“The implication of the above, is that the Visitor had already ruled that the appointment of an Acting Vice-Chancellor by the Council was illegal, hence, the need for Senate to convene to elect an Acting Vice-Chancellor.”
He said SSANU is worried that the underlying allegations of fraud and corrupt practices at the University seem to be lost due to technicalities.
He said, “Government should be concerned that the major agitation of the loudest voices in the University system has always been that of poor funding of the University system. Ironically, those same voices use every tricks, threats and forceful actions to ensure that corrupt practices that fritter away the meagre resources allocated by Government are covered up, while perpetrators are allowed to escape.”