Here’s what you need to know about the highly anticipated LASU Amendment Bill

Yesterday, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode passed the LASU Amendment Bill into law, after its endorsement by the Lagos House of Assembly, in the hopes to finally lay the issues that have ravaged the crisis-prone university for years to rest. According to Ambode, his desire to see LASU compete at a world class level, as well as produce professionals as leaders, is a major driving force behind his signing of the bill. He made the promise to put an end to the crisis in October of 2015, while speaking at the inauguration of the St. Augustine University, in Ilara-Epe, Lagos.

A highly advocated provision in the bill is the five-year single term for Vice Chancellors; a source of conflict between VCs and LASU staff in the past. On November 15, 2015, Ambode sent the proposal for the new tenure provision to the House of Assembly for authorisation, in order to give VCs more time in office to maintain stability within the institution.

His effort was commended by members of the Staff and Student Union of the university, as well as the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), who agreed that a five-year single term would do well to positively influence the actions of the VCs while in office. According to the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Mr. Saheed Oseni, incoming VCs would be better behaved because they would be faced with only one chance to earn a good name for themselves.

The bill also approved a 70-year old retirement age for professors, as proposed by past LASU VC, Prof. John Obafunwa, as well as the ability for students to reside on the school’s campus, which was previously not allowed. The residential situation of LASU students was a popular cause for confrontation between them and other residents within the Iba area where the institution is located.

LASU was engulfed in a seven-month crisis which began around March last year and at the end of the crisis, workers in the university embarked on mass protests to remove Obafunwa from office. The protests stemmed from a dissatisfaction with the manner in which Obafunwa’s administration dealt with the demands of the affected unions. The leading issues involved victimisation of staff members and withdrawal of lecturers’ certificates.

Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner for Information, stated that the latest LASU Amendment Bill improves upon the previous ones of 1990 and 1992. He also stated that special considerations were made towards finding a lasting solution to the institution’s problems in creating the new bill.

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