We Need Our Certificates —LASU Graduates

•Obafunwa

•Obafunwa, LASU VC

Thousands of part-time programme graduates of the Lagos State University, Lagos, western Nigeria, now roam the streets daily in frustration following the refusal of the institution to present them with their results and certificates, P.M.NEWS can confirm.

While many of the graduates have been forced into menial jobs just to earn money barely enough to feed themselves, others have merely resigned to fate taking things as they come years after graduating from the institution without a proof.

•Obafunwa, LASU VC
•Obafunwa, LASU VC

“You can see where I work now. I never thought that I would end up fixing hair,” Olusegun Adebayo, one of the affected graduates told P.M.NEWS at Ikeja.

“Now I’m a hustler. I have realised that I wasted a good number of years thinking I was going to school, hustled to pay my tuition, read so hard for the examinations. Five years after graduation, I can’t even tell people I attended a university.”

He said the university management had continued to conceal the true situation and instead has been raising their hopes.

“We need our results. We have tried several options to no avail. We may be forced therefore to take the laws into our hands one day,” he warned.

Another affected graduate of the institution, Rita (surname withheld), told P.M.NEWS that she had done everything possible to get her result, but that each time she tried, she ends up frustrated.

Nobody in the institution’s management is telling us anything after the huge amounts we paid as school fees.

“My mother fries bean cakes (akara) and, through this, she was able to send me to school. I imagined all that she passed through sometimes getting burnt by hot oil and getting affected by smoke from the fire.

“My belief was that after graduation, I would get a job and ease her suffering. I am now 30, no job, no husband, still living with my mother and helping her to sell akara. Is this not enough for one to commit suicide?” she asked.

Dupe Johnson, one of the graduates of the institution’s part time programme, also narrated how she got sacked from a new generation bank because she could not present a valid result.

She said she merely got  ‘to whom it may concern’ letter from the registrar’s office with which she secured the job four years ago.

“Last year, during a verification exercise, the panel called me to ask about my result and or certificate, but I explained the institution’s challenge to them.

“The panel then put a call to the institution to verify my claim. The institution actually told the panel that it had challenges with results of some graduates, but that it had not issued ‘to whom it may concern’ to anyone.

“Of course, that was the end of my job. Now, I can’t get my result, I can’t get back the money I spent on fees. It is pathetic and nobody seems to be helping out in this regard,” she lamented.

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Some of the students recently petitioned the State House of Assembly over the refusal of the institution to give them their results. They said they had made many efforts but the efforts are not yielding any positive result.

“I was assisted by my husband to get a job at a professional organisation. So I got ‘to whom it may concern’ letter from the institution. After a year, the managing director could no longer tolerate my excuse.

“He had to send me away as I could not produce a genuine result from the school,” one of the graduates of the institution said.

According to Wale Otusanya, who was admitted to study Mass Communication in the 2002/03 academic session, the problem started in 2005, when the university management did not fulfil its promise to make results available at the end of every session.

He stated that all efforts to get their results ever since have been frustrated by the university management.

Otusanya noted that on two occasions in 2011, students were asked to bring their complete course forms from 100 Level to 400 Level, yet nothing came out of that verification exercise.

“Three years after graduating, we received calls from our Anthony Campus to submit our course forms from 100 Level to 400 Level for re-registration. The whole process led to a protest, though we did not achieve anything from it,” he stated.

Investigation by P.M.NEWS showed that the institution may not have known the true identities or names of the graduates who have the problem. This is because there are no verifiable documents to show that the students actually graduated from the institution.

The institution had employed the services of external lecturers for its part time programme different parts of the state, but the problem began between 2004 and 2005 when the institution began to owe the external lecturers.

As a result, the affected lecturers went away with the students’ scripts and other documents that would have enabled the school compile their results.

“Now it is difficult for the institution to really know who its students were during these periods. I admit it was carelessness on the part of the management,” a top management source told P.M.NEWS.

A call made to the Vice Chancellor for his reaction was not taken. The VC did not also respond to a text message by our correspondent.

Wahab Alawiye-King, who chairs the House Committee on Education, Science and Technology mandated to investigate the allegations in a petition sent by some of the aggrieved graduates, has promised to look into every issue that caused the crisis.

“As a representative of the Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, in the committee and on the issue at hand, we must resolve it once and for all,” he told P.M.NEWS.

—Eromosele Ebhomee & Sulaiman Mojeed-Sanni