The crisis rocking the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) in Ondo State deepened on Tuesday as the authorities of the suspended three leaders of the protesting staff, and 20 others.
The affected leaders are: Comrade Dele Durojaiye of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU); Comrade Bayo Aladerotohun of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU); and Comrade Omoraka Emmanuel of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
The three men have been leading the aggrieved members of staff of FUTA in protest against the administration of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, who is accused of misappropriating official funds.
That allegation resulted in Prof. Daramola attracting the attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and it was authoritatively gathered that he has recently been a frequent visitor to the office of the commission in Ibadan.
The university statement, signed by Modupe Ajayi, the registrar of the institution, accused the leadership of the protesting unionists of disrupting university activities and municipal services since the institution was shut down.
It claimed that the authority took the suspension decision because it had repeatedly advised the union leaders to call off its protest and allow proper academic activities to return, but that they failed to do.
“Your action amounts to willful disobedience and act of insubordination to the governing council, which is tantamount to misconduct.
“In this regard the portion of the letter under reference, which states that Council will, therefore, take appropriate action to restore normalcy if the unions fail to comply with its directive is at this moment being effected.
“Consequent upon that, and in consonance with the university’s enabling law, I have been directed that you be put on suspension (on half pay) with effect from Monday, November 28, 2016, pending the resolution of the matter.”
The protesters have been demanding the resignation of Prof. Daramola since last month.
As the crisis escalated yesterday, the Vice-Chancellor allegedly struck Abiodun Atunbi, a member of NASU, with his vehicle. He was rushed to a local hospital, and Prof. Daramola arrested.
None of the suspended union leaders could be reached for comment as of the time of this report, but a close source told SaharaReporters that no letter had been received by leaders.
“If the leaders received such letter, they would have communicated to us. But I can assure you that everything would be clear by tomorrow, and we shall not relent in our demand and agitation for the removal of the corrupt VC”, he said in a telephone interview.