UNILAG Crisis: Sacked VC heads to court, as Senate wants council dissolved

The sacked Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, (UNILAG) Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has engaged a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, to file a suit to challenge his removal from office.

Ogundipe stated in the letter that the act of the Governing Council of the university “purportedly removing” him from office was “illegal and unconstitutional”, adding that it was “carried out without due process and contrary to the University Act and other extant laws governing discipline, suspension and removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the university.”

 “I hereby formally brief you to institute legal proceedings against the Council, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos and others based on their illegal and unconstitutional act of purportedly removing me from office as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos.

“I honestly believe that this action was carried out without due process and contrary to the University Act and other extant laws governing discipline, suspension and removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

“I humbly urge you to use your legal experience to redress this grave injustice meted out to me,” the letter partly read.

The sacking of the vice-chancellor was announced at a meeting of the Governing Council of UNILAG held at the National Universities Commission in Abuja on Wednesday.

While seven members of the council were said to have voted for the removal of Ogundipe, four voted against it while one of them voted that he should rather be placed on suspension.

The meeting was chaired by the UNILAG Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of its Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN.

Meanwhile, the Senate of the University has rejected the removal of Prof. Ogundipe.

In a resolution on Thursday, the top decision-making body of the institution passed a vote of no confidence in the council led by Dr Wale Babalakin and called for its dissolution.

It also rejected the appointment of an acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Theophilus Soyombo, for the institution.

The resolution was signed by the Senate Chairman, Prof. Chioma Agomo, and five other members – Dele Olowokudejo, Oluwole Atoyebi, Folasade Akinsola, Lucian Chukwu, and Ayodele Atsenuwa.

The Senate said the action of the council was a violation of Section 3(8) (9) (10) and (11) of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 2003, on the removal of the Vice-Chancellor of any Federal University in Nigeria.

It expressed shock at getting the news of the removal through social media.

“Due process was not followed in the purported appointment of the acting Vice-Chancellor as the Senate was neither informed nor invited to forward its recommendation to council.

“Its functions and its powers have been completely appropriated by the council in breach of the law.

“Senate resolved to reaffirm its confidence in Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, as the substantive Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos,” the statement added.

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