Human rights attorney Femi Falana has called on the Oyo and Osun State governments to ensure that the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is reopened without any further delay. The senior advocate made the call on Monday at the memorial symposium held in honor of Professor Funmi Adewunmi at the Osun State University Ikire campus.
As a temporary measure, Mr. Falana asked both state governments to set aside part of the London/Paris club loan refunds to provide funding for the immediate reopening of the university. He said it was unacceptable that the university has been shut down for almost a year.
Because the Osun State government cannot afford to fund more than one state university, the senior advocate suggested that the Osun State government relinquish any claim to the ownership of LAUTECH and hand it over to the Oyo State government. Mr. Falana also urged the Oyo State government to be prepared to take over the ownership of LAUTECH and provide the needed funds for it. To do that successfully, the senior advocate further urged the Oyo State government to abolish the new university of technology and transfer all its assets to LAUTECH, which should be turned into a center of academic excellence.
Mr. Falana also disclosed that Professor Funmi Adewunmi was not promptly attended to by the management of the University College Hospital on June 13 when he was rushed there by his family after a brief illness. To prevent avoidable deaths in the country and equally stop the shameful practice of flying Nigerian leaders abroad for medical treatment, Mr. Falana suggested that the bulk of the huge fund being recovered from looters should be earmarked to refurbish Nigeria’s ill-equipped hospitals.
Discussing Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello’s recent banning of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Mr. Falana urged the Attorney-General of Kogi State to inform the governor that it is the fundamental right of Nigerian citizens to assemble and associate peacefully, as it is constitutionally guaranteed and protected. He said Mr. Bello lacks the legal competence to proscribe a registered trade union like the ASUU.
The human rights lawyer also reminded the Kogi State governor that even when the late Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abacha, purportedly banned the ASUU via Decree no 4 of 1996, the Federal High Court upheld his submission and set aside the illegal ban. Mr. Falana, therefore, advised the ASUU leadership to ignore the proscription so that Mr. Bello will realize the limits of his executive powers.