The management of the University of Lagos has forcefully evicted its former Deputy Director of Sports, Kehinde Sogbesan, just few hours after serving him a quit notice to relocate from his official quarters.
The school management had written Sogbesan on 13 January giving him two-week notice to move out of his official residence, 5A Ransome Kuti, Unilag but in a shock twist university security officials and gun men stormed his residence on the same day around 1pm and sealed the house.
Sogbesan and his family were not allowed to collect any personal belongings from the house.
But even more shocking was that on 24 January the school management ordered that the former Deputy Sports Director and his family be evicted without their notice.
Their paraphernalia, electronic gadgets and other belongings were taken to the Department of Work, an action that negates the statutory requirement of the law.
Landlord and Tenant Law states that “where an employee is required by his employer expressly or impliedly to reside in a house, flat or quarters provided by the employer as representative occupier for better performance of his service/duties …..If the employee’s services with the employer terminates, there is no automatic determination of tenancy.
The employer is required to comply with the statutory provisions of the rent/edicts for the rejection or eviction of the service tenant because the relationship between the employer and employee is that of a landlord and tenant.” Fortune C.O. Ononogbu ESQ wrote in Fundamentals of Landlord and Tenant Law.
Sogbesan, who was part of the sports committee that helped the school successfully host the Nigeria University Games, NUGA, in 1998 and West African University Games in 2006 was dismissed by the school management in 2008 but retained his official residence, 5A Ransome Kuti, Unilag, after he sued the institution for wrongfully dismissing him.
The school had sacked him on the ground that he purchased four pairs of net posts for Lawn Tennis courts at the sum of N540,000 without informing the school management. But Sogbesan claimed he purchased the materials because he had approval to do so. “The poles were bought, they were erected, installed like I was given instructions to go ahead to do, but because they didn’t want to pay me, they started saying that I should defend why I should purchased the poles and nets.
“I am the Director of Sports on ground nothing must be lacking, even in the bill of quantity, we didn’t make provision for all this things to happen, if at the end of the day the competition holds, and there are certain issues, the blame will be on me. I was forced to pay the contractor with the sum of N540,000 which was duly receipted and the approval given by the Director of Works and Services,” he lamented.
Sogbesan stressed that he decided to make provisions for the poles and nets not only because he was then the Nigerian chairman, Nigerian University Games for Tennis but because he has travelled to many countries using that office. “I have travelled out of this country based on that position so the onus was on me to show good leadership. I went straight in to talk to the then Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibidapo Obe, and he gave me his verbal consent,” he explained.
Sogbesan wants the school to pay him the N540,000 and his entitlements for five years despite Justice Obaseki-Osaghae of the National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos Judicial Division stating that the school was right to dismiss him. “It was just politics at the NIC and for this reason I have appealed the judgment and I know I will get a fair hearing this time,” he said.
Toyin Adebule, Deputy Registrar and Acting Public Relations Officer, Unilag, toldthegazellenews.com that he knew nothing about the eviction of Sogbesan claiming that he was not briefed about such action. “I am in Ibadan now where I am billed to receive an award, I don’t know anything about Mr Sogbesan’s eviction,” he said.
Adebule’s claim to knowing nothing got short shrift from Sogbesan who claimed he spoke with Adebule shortly after he was informed of the eviction.
Efforts to reach the Information Unit on the 8th floor at the Senate building in Unilag for more information on his eviction proved futile as all officials claimed they were not in the capacity to speak on the matter. They said the Chairman Housing had the authority to do so.
Chairman, Housing Committee Unit and lecturer at the Chemistry Department, Prof Oluwole Familoni, said the eviction became necessary after the court dismissed Sogbesan’s suit. He explained to thegazellenews.com that the legal officer had all the details.
On reaching the legal unit, the legal officer, Olufunke Akinsode evaded our reporter. She declined to speak. She did not even address our reporter.