The Federal Government last night waded into the crisis at the University of Lagos with the setting up of a visitation panel to probe the situation at the institution.
It asked the main players in the crisis -Pro Chancellor/Chairman, Governing Council of the university, Dr. Wale Babalakin and the embattled Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe to recuse themselves from performing their official duties while the probe lasts.
Last week’s appointment of Professor Theophilus Shoyomo as acting vice chancellor by Babalakin was also nullified as government told the Senate of the institution to meet within one week to find a replacement.
The panel of seven members is headed by Professor Tukur Sa’ad.
Other members are: Barrister Victor Onuoha,Orofessor Ikenna Oyindo,Professor Ekanem Braide, Professor Adamu K. Usman, Chief Jimoh Bankole and Barrister Grace Ekanem who will serve as secretary.
The panel has to conclude its assignment within two weeks, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) said last night.
The crisis blew over on August 12 when a meeting of the institution’s Governing Council removed Ogundipe for alleged financial irregularities.
Shoyombo was appointed as acting VC by Babalakin .
Ogundipe’s removal was contested by some members and non -members of the university community who said the Governing Council did not follow due process.
Babalakin insisted that it did and claimed that Ogundipe was indicted by the Council for reckless mismanagement of University funds.
He said Ogundipe renovated his official quarters for N49 million without approval from Council and allocated N41 million to the University Bursar to renovate his residence to cover up.
“Series of attempts were made to reconcile but the plain truth is that Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has been looting the university and looting recklessly,” he said.
Continuing,, Babalakin said: “After a Committee of Council investigated the finances of Council, the report was sent to all those affected.
“Prof. Ogundipe wrote his defense to the allegations. I think it was submitted on May 13 or March 13. Then he spoke for one hour in his defense. He had all the opportunity of fair hearing under the law. So I am surprised at the propaganda in the media
“One of the things that was found in the committee report was that without mentioning to anybody, without any approval, Toyin Ogundipe spent N49 million to renovate his house. This has to be done with the approval of the Council. He sought no approval.
“To cover up he gave the Bursar N41 million to renovate his own house. The official residence of the Bursar can be built from scratch with N41 million.”
The Senate met penultimate Thursday and expressed confidence in Ogundipe’s leadership.
It called for the dissolution of the Council.
Ogundipe had gone to court to contest his removal only for his lawyer to withdraw the case yesterday citing deference to President Muhammadu Buhari who is the institution’s Visitor.