Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, western Nigeria, on Friday grilled the management of the state owned tertiary institution, Lagos State University, LASU, following the crisis rocking the institution.
•Obafunwa, LASU VC
Among those who honoured the House summon on Friday include the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, representatives of the institution’s Students’ Union Government, SUG, led by Hassan Mojirade, and three representatives from the Students’ Ruling Council led by Sanni Sadiq and the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye as well as the Special Adviser to Governor Babatunde Fashola on Education, Lateef Olukoga.
Apart from allegations that the institution failed to present results and certificates to its graduates years after leaving the institution, thousands of aggrieved students of the institution took to the streets yesterday to protest the refusal of LASU management to allow them write their second semester examination because they had not fully registered as students.
The Chairman, Governing Council of the institution, Mr. Olabode Augusto, who spoke first said at the beginning of every academic year, the students are expected to pay their fees and then go ahead to register through a portal for the courses they should take.
He said in the second semester, the portal was opened for two weeks, but that the students asked for more time and it was opened for another one month. Following another appeal, the portal was again opened for seven days.
During this period, he said over 11, 000 students registered while a little over 1000 students failed to register.
He said the university was re-opened close the Yuletide period following a strike, and that the students again started begging for the portal to be re-opened, but that the management refused because it would disrupt academic activities.
“Moreover, the management thought we needed to teach the students how to act properly because at the beginning of every year, they are supposed to do the right thing,” he said.
He said he had met with the students when they earlier protested about the non-reopening of the portal. He said the Governing Council agreed with the management’s decision but said the agreement was that those who had paid the fees but could not register would have to carry over to the following semester, but would not pay another school fees.
Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, Prof. Oladapo Obafunwa, 2nd left and his team before the Lagos State House of Assembly to brief members on the Ccrisis rocking the University. Photo Oluwasanmi JosephHe said the SUG officials argued that some of the students could not meet the payment deadline because they are from poor homes, but added that the institution has a payment plan and was lenient because of students from poor homes but that the students must inform the school.
Students of the institution who thronged the state Assembly for the hearing were prevented from getting into the chamber by armed security men at the gate of the House.
The VC noted that LASU has always been bedevilled by crisis of lack of early registration by tudents.
“When students fail courses, they go to the portal to delete courses in which they failed and add the ones which they passed. They call it add and delete,” he said of the fraudulent activities of the students.
He was still speaking at the time of this report.
The Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji said the House took the decision to invite members of the institution’s Governing Council and other relevant people concerning the mayhem that occurred at the school on Thursday.
“LASU is the only university that we can call our own and all well meaning Lagosians are concerned about the goings-on in the university,” Ikuforiji said..
He said it was the hope of government that the university would become world-class, adding that the government had spent billions of naira to put the institution where it is.
“However, the return has not been encouraging,” he said, adding that this and many other reasons accounted for their invitation.
Some of the students were said to have paid the tuition but were not able to complete their registration before the portal for registration was shut by the institution’s management.
The school was shut after the students went on the rampage Thursday, disrupting the university’s second semester examination and destroying properties in the process.
The protest which started Wednesday over the closure of the university’s registration portal, led to stoning of the University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Obafunwa, as he tried to evade the riotous students who had blocked the main gate and made bonfires on the Lagos-Badagry expressway.
A witness told P.M.NEWS Thursday that students threw sticks and stones at the Vice Chancellor’s convoy as he made to escape through an alternative route beside Connoil Filling station.
Trouble started in the university when the VC decided not to open the registration portal for over 2,000 students who are yet to register their second semester courses as exams was to begin Thursday, even though the banks are still collecting school fees from students, whose hope of registering gets slimmer by the day.
According to the students, only 708 were able to register before the portal was shut again leaving, 1292 students to their fate.
When the students union government went to plead on behalf of the students, the VC was reported as saying those yet to register are insignificant and would automatically have to carry the session over, a statement which infuriated the students and they decided to take laws into their hands.
A 100 level Political Science student, Adesegun Bisuga, laments the hard-line stand of the VC, saying he is inconsiderate.
“I personally don’t know why the VC decided to take that kind of hurting decision looking at the high fees the students are paying and after they struggle to pay, the VC denied us registration which will lead to the students having carry covers and extra year(s),” he said.
During an audience with the Vice Chancellor by members of the students union body, it was reported that the Vice Chancellor said 11,300 students, have registered so far, and the remaining the 1292 students crying foul falls in the rank of the minority.
Efforts to speak with the Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. Kabiru Akinyemi, was not successful as he said he cannot comment on the matter now. Calls put across to the Vice Chancellor were also ignored.
The speaker of the Students Parliamentary Council, Sodiq Adewunmi Sanni, while speaking with our correspondent, advised that the university management should consider the students in view of the outrageous school fees they are paying.
“The university management needs to consider the students, they are paying the highest school fees for a state university in Nigeria. Even though I am not affected, the students’ school fees is outrageous. They have gone through a lot and to now deny them registration is not in anybody’s good interest.”