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Just when it appeared peace was gradually returning to Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, strong signs of fresh crisis are looming in the institution.
Academic and non-academic members of the institution, who had hoped the new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, would steer the school away from the brink are beginning to think differently.
Last week, all professors in the institution, who have attained the mandatory age of 65 years, were served with official letters to immediately proceed on terminal leave. This letter was sent on the eve of the commencement of the first-semester examination, and no official reason was given for this development.
The mandatory age of 65 years is an integral part of the old conditions of service.
This latest development which has serious implications on staff stability is a major discussion point amongst academic staff of the school, just as morale on campus is at its lowest ebb since Fagbohun assumed duty.
Under the immediate past governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, the school witnessed two academic sessions of civil disobedience on campus.
In his bid to fully understand the issues, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, met with the university’s management and the unions shortly after his inauguration. A few days after the meeting, he approved the payment of the balance of the school fees paid by students of the institution, totalling N162.5m, as a first step aimed at dousing the tension
Few months later, he approved the composition of a new governing council for the institution along side that of four other institutions.
Another step the governor took in his bid to return sanity to the institution was the approval of a five-year single-term for vice chancellors of the school five days after its approval by the state House of Assembly.
Ambode, who endorsed the amended version of the law governing the school, also approved on-campus residency for the students and a 70-year retirement age for professors. These new provisions were part of recommendations of the state House of Assembly to put an end to unending crisis in the 32-year-old institution.
However, one of the affected professors, who spoke on the issue, said: “I cannot understand the rationale behind this measure, which will certainly create and complicate the existing problems on the campus. Last year, there was a public statement by the Visitor to the university, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode that he has approved the newly-passed law by the Lagos House of Assemble amending the tenure of the vice chancellor to a five-year-non renewable term, and also gave the nod and moved the voluntary retirement age of professors to 70 years.”
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