Some students have called on the management of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) to discipline a lecturer, Adebambo Somuyiwa, who allegedly extorted students in 2018.
Mr Somiyiwa, who is the Head of the Department of Transport Management, reportedly requested all the 2017/2018 final year students to pay N3000 each for him to append his signature on their clearance forms.
Failure to be ‘cleared’ meant a delay in the mobilisation of the students for the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
About 400 graduating students were made to make the illegal payment.
It was also gathered that the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) intervened and the faculty was temporarily shut down by students who protested the extortion but nothing came out of it.
According to the Student Union President, Abiodun Oluwaseun, who confirmed the incident, the protesters requested that the money should be refunded.
“I was not around on that day. But when I came back, I was briefed and they said that the money was refunded to the students.”
Although Mr Oluwaseun could not confirm anyone he knows who got the refund, he said “not one hundred per cent will get the refund.”
However, some of the ‘victims’ who spoke with this reporter said the money was not refunded to them or any colleague they know of.
Most are graduates and currently participating in the NYSC programme.
Adekunle Jibola, who is currently serving in Ibadan, said that the HOD, through his secretary, was “hell bent on getting the money before signing the clearance knowing fully well that the mobilisation for NYSC will be delayed if they are not cleared.”
“Despite the fact that we spent a lot on the project and how hard it was for me to pay tuition…When the issue of paying N3000 came up then just for signing our clearance form. We just had to pay so as to be cleared,” Anifat, a female student lamented while speaking with PREMIUM TIMES.
Another graduate, Olaoye Nurudeen, said “the payment caused pandemonium amongst the classmates till the point that the collection was transferred from the class representative to the HOD’s secretary”.
Speaking on the mode of collection, he said: “We were submitting the clearance form with the N3,000 with the secretary. Then we will go back after some days to get it after the head officer has appended his signature.
“We had no option because without it, we cannot be mobilised for NYSC. We begged them to reduce the fee. They refused,” Mr Olaoye, a serving corps member in Kwara State, added.
Meanwhile, in a petition dated June 25, some concerned students requested the school authority to “carry out a detailed investigation and ensure the culprits are brought to book.”
“However, if necessary, actions are not done on time, we will definitely refer the matter to the EFCC and the ICPC to arrest those involved and investigate the matter,” the students said.
In July 29, 2019 with a letter of reference REG/ADM.76 signed by the Registrar, the school said action is being taken by the university management and a panel set up.
More allegations surface
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sane Academic Environment (MASAE), a rights group, has accused Mr Somuyiwa of corruption, criminal breach of trust and unlawful enrichment.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, the group also alleged that he has used the office occupied to commit nefarious activities, such as altering results for sexual benefits.
When this newspaper contacted Mr Somuyiwa last Friday, he confirmed that the university earlier set up a panel and the report “will be released soonest”.
Responding to the allegation of extortion, he said; “The truth is that it was not what I did based on personal volition. That has been the practice of the system. It is not for the signature.”
He, however, did not clarify what the money was meant for when this correspondent probed further.
The embattled don also stated that he is being witch-hunted but did not explain the reasons and the people behind the ‘witch-hunting’.
“There is something that led to it which I will not say until the report comes. It is just a matter of witch-hunting,” he said.
Management keeps mum
This reporter contacted the chairman of the investigation panel, Nurain Tanimowo, for comments on the causes of the delay in the outcome of the panel but he did not respond.
After multiple telephone calls put across, Mr Tanimowo, via a text message, directed PREMIUM TIMES to the university spokesperson, Fadeyi Lekan.
When contacted, Mr Fadeyi promised to make the details of the investigation panel’s work available as soon as it is submitted to his office.
Despite two weeks of follow-up through text messages and calls, Mr Fadeyi is yet to brief this newspaper on the status of the investigation.