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UNILAG Crisis: The Real Reason We Removed Ogundipe As VC – Babalakin Speaks

Wale Babalakin, the Pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos, Akoka, has said the removal of Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the Vice-Chancellor of the institution was due to gross misappropriation of funds and reckless looting of resources.

Mr Babalakin said this Friday while addressing journalists at the Muritala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how Mr Ogundipe was controversially removed as the university’s vice-chancellor on Wednesday by the governing council at a meeting held in Abuja.

Six of the members of the council voted for his removal while four voted against.

The removal has been condemned by the university’s senate and all the staff unions in the institution.

Mr Ogundipe has also rejected the removal saying due process was not followed.

A PREMIUM TIMES review of the law establishing the university also showed that only the Nigerian president can remove the vice-chancellor “after due consultation with the Council and the Senate acting through the Minister of Education.”

On Friday, however, Mr Babalakin defended the removal, saying if a vice-chancellor is removed and he wants to complain, he will write an appeal to the visitor.

“He cannot on his own declare that he has not been removed. He cannot on his own decide to confront his employer,” the senior lawyer said.

*Looting and Gross Misappropriation*

Mr Babalakin argued that the law was appropriately followed in the removal of the vice-chancellor as there are many pending allegations bordering on looting and misappropriation of funds against Mr Ogundipe.

“Professor Ogundipe has been looting the university and looting it recklessly, that’s the plain truth that we should not hide.

“There is misappropriation and there is direct looting of the University. All attempts were made to put an end to this,” he said.

Giving some instances of alleged looting by Mr Ogundipe, Mr Babalakin said without seeking approval, Mr Ogundipe spent N49 million renovating his house.

“Under the process, this has to be done with approval from the council, he sought no approval. To cover up, he gave the bursar N41 million to renovate his official residence. The official residence of the bursar can be built for N41 million from the scratch, this was what was spent on renovation.”

Mr Babalakin said an investigation ordered by the governing council showed that Mr Ogundipe misappropriated funds.

Mr Ogundipe had denied any wrongdoing.

On Friday, Mr Babalakin said the resistance to the removal of Mr Ogundipe is from “the vocal minority who are benefiting extensively from the resources of the university.”

“There is the silent majority and the vocal minority benefiting from the corruption of the university which has become cultural and we are determined to stop it, which is why there is resistance.”

Weeks before Mr Ogundipe’s controversial removal, Mr Babalakin had been having a running battle with university lecturers at the university who warned him not to come into premises of the institution.

That threat by the lecturers may have been responsible for the governing council moving its meeting to Abuja, first to a private hotel before it was finally held at the headquarters of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

On Friday, speaking on the threat by the lecturers, Mr Babalakin said he cannot be physically restrained by the lecturers.

“You cannot physically restrain anybody during a Labour dispute, all you are allowed to do is picketing.”

“The law will take its course. It is not in the place of the removed VC to say he has not been removed. He cannot be a judge in his own court,”  he said.

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