© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) branch, Gabriel Omonijo, has sued the management of the university at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Akure, over his indefinite suspension without pay from the university.
Omonijo in the suit made available to The ICIR claimed that his suspension without pay by the management of the university because of his involvement in the production of the State of FUOYE Report was illegal and a violation of the provisions of Trade Union Act.
The suit was filed on April 29, 2019, at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Akure, by Omonijo’s lawyers, Funmi Falana and Taiwo Olawanle from Falana and Falana’s Chambers.
He argued that his suspension without pay by the university did not follow the due process as stipulated in the university’s conditions of service, which is an embodiment of the Acts that established the university.
Omonijo said the investigation panel that recommended his suspension without pay to the university was biased based on its prejudiced composition because of the membership of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, Abayomi Fasina, who was alleged in the report of “State of FUOYE” which is currently being investigated.
He said that his suspension without pay by the University is wrong and unjust as he was only invited in respect of the allegations made in the petition by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the Minister of Education.
The ASUU chairman stated further that the purported Investigation Panel saddled with the responsibility to investigate the allegations made in the petition to the Minister turned round to place him on suspension without pay due to his position as the Chairman of ASUU in the institution.
Omonijo, therefore, engaged the services of Falana and Falana’s Chambers which wrote a letter to the university vide a letter dated March 11, 2019, informing the University of its illegality of the constitution of the investigative panel, among others, but the University responded vide a letter dated March 15, 2019, and signed by the Ag. Registrar of the University, Olayinka Ajayi, stating that the issues raised in the said letter are receiving the attention of the University authorities.
He said that the university was yet to recall him from the suspension since February 14, 2019, despite several efforts he made to resolve the issues that led to his hasty suspension.
The following were other prayers of the Claimant at the Industrial Court:
A declaration that his suspension without pay from the University via letters dated 14th and 15th February, 2019 is null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
A declaration that the suspension from the University on account of the petition sent to the Minister of Education by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is illegal as it violates the provisions of Trade Union Act.
An order setting aside the Claimant’s letters of suspension without pay dated 14th and 15th February, 2019 as same is unknown to law.
The Claimant sought an order directing the defendant to reinstate him to his status as Senior Lecturer and to pay his salaries, allowances and entitlements from February 2019 till judgement is given in this suit.
He also sought an order restraining the defendant from further interfering with his rights, privileges and performance of his duties as the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Federal University Oye-Ekiti (ASUU-FUOYE) branch.
The ICIR reports that the senior lecturer in the Department of Water Resources, Faculty of Agriculture was suspended twice by the management of the university through two letters of suspension.
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