NUC May Axe 36 Courses In LASU

Hussein, VC LASU.

•Hussein, VC LASU.

Except some drastic measures are taken, the Lagos State University, South-West Nigeria, would collapse soon, Lagos lawmakers have said.

•Hussein, VC LASU.

This is coming against the backdrop of speculations that the National Universities Commission (NUC) would not accredit 26 more courses in the institution by next month.

The state-owned higher institution had been facing several challenges, part of which led to the NUC wielding the big stick by refusing to accredit 10 courses in the school recently.

The 10  courses are Law,   Economics, Marketing, Chemical and Polymer Engineering, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Political Science, Sociology, Business Administration and Management Technology. The University used to run the best law faculty in the entire country in the 80s.

P.M.NEWS learnt from some lawmakers last night that the House might call for the sack of the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Lateef Hussein, to sanitise the institution. They may have been forced to take the decision following several accusations against him by lecturers, heads of departments and deans of faculties of the institution.

A lawmaker, Babatunde Ogala, also stunned the House when he alleged that the school appointed retired soldiers and those not qualified to head departments and other sensitive positions.

Part of the accusations is that Hussein misappropriated several billions of naira granted the school by the state government.

Chairman of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr. Kabir Akinyemi, also accused the Vice Chancellor of not approving the promotion of lecturers since 2005.

He said that the union had been sending warning signals and calling on interested persons to save the institution before the NUC finally visited. He said the VC had successfully driven away qualified lecturers and had appointed his cronies and made them heads despite the fact that such lecturers were on contract.

For example, he said, the institution’s Director of Academic Planning is not qualified for the job. But he was appointed and made a level 14 staff with just a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and barely six years experience for a job that should be handled by a Professor.

“LASU is the only university where the Director of Academic Planning is a non academic staff and so grossly inexperienced.

“Due to poor condition of service, many of the qualified lecturers have gone for greener pastures,” he said, adding that the VC appointed non-academic staff as lecturers in the part time arm of the institution.

While the Faculty of Law only has one professor as against the NUC requirement of six, the Accounting Department, Dr. Akinyemi said, had no single PhD holder.

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Ayo Omotayo, Acting head of Geography department, said he was very sure that his department would lose its accreditation next month when the NUC visits. Also to be affected is the College of Medicine which uses only contract staff. Omotayo accused the management of the school of administrative high-handedness and incompetence since 2005.

“Between 2005 and now, LASU has lost all its competent lecturers. Even if the pay was bad, if you are not encouraged or if you are hounded for speaking the truth, then you would move to where you can be encouraged,” he said, adding that this was the reason most lecturers ran away from the institution.

He also accused the House Committee on Education headed by Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King of failing in its duties regarding the school. The decay in the institution is also reflected in the lack of any dedicated library or laboratory.

Denying the VC’s claim that the institution was not well funded, Dr. Olatunji Abanikannda, a lecturer in the institution, said the funds were either misappropriated or not prioritised.

“All the problems of the institution are self-inflicted by the VC. What happened to those who grew with LASU? The rules of the school were never obeyed by the Vice Chancellor,” he said asking what happened to the over N2.5 billion made available to the institution recently. Besides, the government had given the institution N17 billion.

When asked for his reaction, Professor Hussein only blamed the institution’s senate and governing board for its problems. He also blamed external regulators for the delay in the promotion of the lecturers.

But he was quickly reminded by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, that he had the power to influence promotions. The Speaker also said he was disappointed that despite giving the VC a soft landing before, he had refused to adhere to the advice of the lawmakers.

The lawmaker demanded for the release of the white paper submitted to the Executive by the visitation panel set up to look into the crises faced by the institution several months ago.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers have decided to hire a competent accounting firm to examine the institution’s accounting books before taking the next action.

Prof. Hussein should have been sacked long ago in the wake of the crises occasioned by allegations of fraud levelled against him by lecturers, non academic staff and students of the institution.

He had survived till now due to the intervention of some of the stakeholders of the  university.

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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