Akeju Vs YABATECH: Counsel Trade Words Over Settlement


Counsel in the legal battle between Joseph Babatunde Akeju, former bursar of Yaba College of Technology, YABATECH, in Lagos and the management of the college seem to be trading words on how best to settle out of court.

P.M.NEWS recalled that in 2004, Akeju, then a Bursar of YABATECH during the regime of Olubunmi Owoso as Rector, petitioned the police, EFCC and ICPC on the alleged fraudulent manner the then rector was handling the finances of the college.

Checks revealed that for having the courage to expose  the alleged fraud in the college, Akeju was victimized, harassed and humiliated by the college management.

He was eventually  dismissed  in 2008 by the management of college without receiving  his salary for almost three years.

However, that same year, the former bursar dragged YABATECH to the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi with Justice A. Ajakaiye presiding.

The legal battle with suit No. FHC/L/CS/5401/2008 raged on till late 2010, when some friends of Akeju prevailed on him to withdraw the case from court in order to pave way for amicable settlement.

Akeju told P.M.NEWS on Monday that on September 3, 2010, based on promptings from YABATECH, I filed an application to formally withdraw the case.

But a letter dated 17 March,   2011 from Dada Odesanya & Co., counsel to Akeju and addressed to Messrs I.A Kokumo & Co, counsel to YABATECH, stated that Akeju has fulfilled all righteousness in ensuring that his premature and unjustified dismissal from YABATECH is resolved out of court and all his outstanding salaries and benefits for more than three years are paid to him.

According to the letter from Akeju’s counsel signed by Adeolu Dada Esq, “I was shocked to learn from my client that you alleged that I am the one slowing down progress on the issue of settlement, because according to you, I have not done what I am supposed to do.”

Adeolu further stated in his letter: “If there is any other thing that you know of, within legal and reasonable limits, which we are yet to do, kindly communicate to us in writing.”

Responding to the letter form Adeolu, Barrister I.A Kokumo Esq., counsel to YABATECH on 22 March, 2011, denied the allegations that he was the one slowing down the process of settlement of the issues, stating that he was the one that sent to the college a letter from Akeju dated February 10, 2011, that contained the terms of settlement.

Kokumo, however, intimated Adeolu that by a letter received from the college on March 18, 2011, the management of YABATECH is willing to commute the dismissal of Akeju to retirement, upon the discontinuance of the case in court.

But Akeju told P.M.NEWS on phone on Tuesday that he would not accept his premature and unjustified dismissal to be committed to retirement, since that could mean he did something wrong by blowing the whistle on fraud in the college.

“Rather, I want to be reinstated and after receiving all my salaries and other benefits, I will resign honourably within three months,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source in the college told P.M.NEWS that a committee has been set up to work out Akeju’s entitlements in readiness for payment.

—Emmauel Udom

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