ACADEMIC activities were paralysed on Monday as staff and students of the Federal College of Agriculture, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, embarked on peaceful protest over suspension of four lecturers by the school management.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the management of the college had, on Monday, sent four members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) of the school on an ‘indefinite suspension’ without pay, as approved by the Minister of Agriculture through the supervisory agency – Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.
The academic members shut down all offices and engaged in peaceful protest within the administrative blocks of the college.
The management had, in a letter with reference number FCA/PF/682 and dated August 2, 2016, entitled ‘Indefinite Suspension’ accused the four members of the union; chairman, secretary, auditor and the Public Relations Officers, of gross misconduct.
The affected officers are Mr Jokanola Olufemi, Mr Eyitayo Oluade, Awogbade Aderemi and Miss Adenike Adekunle, respectively.
The letter, signed by the registrar, Abimbade S. Abass, reads: “I am directed by the Provost to inform you that the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in a letter with reference number AGR/909/Vol 119, dated 9th August, 2016, through the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, approved your immediate suspension without pay for gross misconduct, recalcitrant and insubordination to constituted authority.
“The suspension is in accordance with rule number 030406 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s public service rules.
“Consequently, you are directed to vacate the college premises as well as submit all college properties in your custody to the Registrar’s office and any outstanding students’ examination score sheet(s) to the Head of Examinations and Records before close of work on Monday, August 15, 2016.”
The letter, however, resulted into peaceful demonstration by members of the academic staff, claiming victimisation by the management, and also snowballed into protest by National Diploma part time students who were defending their projects.
Members of ASUP displayed various placards summarising their grievances with the Provost of the College, Dr Babajide Adelekan.
Some of the placards read: Leave our representatives alone. They only relay our collective resolutions”, “The quality of academic in F.C.A is our priority”, “ASUP says suspend all of us”, “FCA is not a military zone”, among others.
According to the chairman of ASUP, which the college was affiliated to, Mr Olufemi Jokanola, the crisis with the management, and in particular, the provost, started since the day members of the academic union decided to unionise.
When contacted, the registrar, Mr Abimbade Abass, declined comment, saying, “only the Chief Executive Officer of the College can speak on the matter.”
All attempts to speak with the Provost, Dr Babajide Adelekan, failed, as calls put through his mobile line did not connect.