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UNILORIN sacked lecturers: UNILORIN authorities must obey court orders

Press statement of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC)
27 July 2005

After four years, legal victory came the way of the 49 lecturers of the University of Ilorin that were sacked in May 2001 by the UNILORIN authorities for their participation in the nationwide strike called by the National Executive Committee (NEC) Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) to demand for better funding of the university education among other demands.

The Federal High Court, Ilorin on Tuesday, 26th July, 2005, ruled in favour of the affected lecturers. Delivering its judgements on the two separate suits instituted by the affected lecturers against the UNILORIN authorities, the court ruled that the termination of the appointments of the lecturers on the account of their participation in the strike without fair hearing is illegal and unconstitutional. Consequently, the court declared the termination of the appointments of the lecturers null and void and ordered their immediate reinstatement.

The court judgements had confirmed our position that there was no justifiable basis for the sack of the lecturers in May 2001 by the UNILORIN authorities under the leadership of the immediate past Vice-chancellor, Professor Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem. It also confirmed the position of the “2001 FGN - ASUU Negotiating Team/Implementation Committee” under the chairmanship of Professor Ayo Banjo (now Chairman, UNILORIN Governing Council) who recommended that the lecturers should be reinstated because there was no basis for their sack in the first instance.

We call on the UNILORIN authorities to immediately recall the sacked lecturers to their duty posts with all their entitlements paid in obedience to the court orders. We are not unaware of the attitude of the UNILORIN authorities in the recent past to disobey court orders with impunity. But, we sincerely hope that the UNILORIN authorities will not, this time around, ridicule our judiciary by disobeying the orders of the court.

Characteristically, the UNILORIN authorities may appeal the ruling of the Federal High Court, Ilorin. While we concede that UNILORIN authorities have the legal rights to appeal the judgements, we are bold to say that there was no moral justification for this. Instead of wasting the University’s money on avoidable legal suits, such money will go a long way to improve the students and staff welfare on campus. We demand that this landmark judgement of the court be obeyed to the very letter, unmindful of whatever step the UNILORIN authorities intend to take.

We equally call on the UNILORIN authorities to release the withheld final statement of results and certificates of the former student activists of the University namely; Lanre Akinola, Rasheedat Adesina and Tosin Akinrogunde.

Finally, we call on all lovers of justice in the country to prevail on the UNILORIN authorities to obey without delay the orders of the Federal High Court, Ilorin and recall the sacked lecturers to their duty posts. They have suffered enough for no just cause.

Wale Eleto