▪︎Management claims innocence
By Richard Akintade, Osogbo
A fresh crisis is imminent as the management of the Osun State University prevented six of its workers from resuming work on Thursday.
Recently, the workers had been discharged and acquitted by an Osogbo Magistrate Court in a case instituted against them by the management.
Nine days after winning the case, the workers have been denied access to the university and their duty posts.
The six affected workers including Adiat Kadir, Odeniyi Olakunle, Adewuyi Saheed, Abiodun Olalekan, Ajulo Adetunji and Kayode Adesoye had written to the management of their resumption from interdiction and readiness to resume work.
But when the workers got to the university gate on Thursday, the security guards at the gate, led by the University Chief Security Officer, turned them back and informed them that the management had asked them not to allow them to enter the school.
A document sighted by our correspondent revealed that the management, in a letter signed by the university Registrar, G. A. Shittu and dated October 9, 2020 had sought for a copy of the court judgement in respect to their case.
Another document showed that the management received the judgement through the workers’ lawyer.
Speaking, Comrade Lekan Adiat, one of the affected workers and the Chairman of Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU of the university said a copy of the Court judgement had been forwarded to the management.
Adiat accused the management of illegality and flagrant disobedience of court order.
He called on the State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola and other well- meaning indigenes of the state to intervene and prevail on the university management to allow them resume their work.
He said, “It is quite unfortunate that the people that are managing Osun State University are people of illegality.
“A case was decided by a court of competent jurisdiction on October 7, 2020, and the Conditions of Service of Osun State University, Section 5.4.1, (g) (V) stipulates that when a staff of Osun State University has a criminal case, such a staff will be interdicted and immediately after the decision of court on his or her matter, and the decision of the court is in favour of that staff, that staff will be recalled back to his or her duty post with immediate effect and all his or her entitlements will be paid.
“Today is the ninth day we have won this case in the court, initially, we wrote to the management that we are resuming on Friday, 9th of October, 2020, the university responded that they have not gotten the judgement and that our lawyer should forward the judgement to the university management.
“On Monday, our lawyer responded and forwarded the judgement that we got to the university management.
“We also wrote to inform the management that we are resuming and when we got to the school gate, we were denied access into the university, our place of work.
“This is quite unfortunate. The chief security officer said they have a documentary evidence that the school management wrote them not to allow us gain entry into the university.
“It is now clear to the entire world that this university is now being run by illegal people. We have said it that the Osun State management is dwelling on illegality. They have no respect for the rule of law. They have no respect for due process.
“We are calling on well meaning indigenes of Osun state- General Akinrinade, Chief BISI Akande, to prevail on the university management to stop this illegality. I don’t know when it has become an offence to protest peacefully. We, the workers of Osun state university protested and the university charged us for criminal offence.
“The ENDSARS movement has been protesting and no one charged them to court. And now that we have won the case, they refused to allow us to resume our work.
“We call on the Chairman of the governing Council, Mallam Yusuf Ali to prevail on the management to allow us resume work. We also call on the Osun state Governor, Gboyega Gboyega to call the university management to order. This university is not a private property, it belongs to all of us. The government should prevail on Prof Labo Popoola’s led management to respect the rule of law and the Conditions of service of the university. They denied us entry into the university, which is a deviance to the court’s ruling,” Adiat said.
When contacted for reaction, the university Registrar, G. A. Shittu explained that the workers were denied access to the university because the state ministry of justice that proscuted the just concluded litigation, had appealed the judgement.
He said “the six of them are on interdiction. They wrote to us that they want to resume. Invariably, the case is being handled by the state government, not the university. Then, we now asked from the prosecution (the state ministry of justice), they said they have appealed the case.
“This morning, I have brought the letter from the attorney general of the state saying that they have appealed and that the case is still in court, that they should not be given the opportunity to resume until everything is dispensed.
“Invariably now, their letter is being signed by me now to inform them that the state said they are not satisfied with the judgement and that they have filed an appeal.
“They even gave me a copy of the appeal signed by the Attorney General of the state. The other time when the 19 (workers) were discharged, we asked them to resume immediately,” the registrar said.
But Adiat said “the Ministry only filed notice of appeal which is different from an appeal itself Then, if it is appealed, it doesn’t stop our resumption.”
The Union leaders and members of the institution had, in 2018, protested alleged unpaid entitlements and financial impropriety against the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Labo Popoola before 25 were taken to court for public disturbance. All the affected workers were discharged and acquitted by an Osogbo Magistrate’s court presided over by Senior Magistrate Opeyemi Badmus.