The police on Thursday stormed the homes of two leaders of the University of Lagos chapter of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and arrested them.
Joseph Adefolalu and Adekola Adetomiwa were arrested between 1.30 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Thursday allegedly at the instance of the university’s vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
The institution’s non-academic staff had been at loggerheads with the university management over the sharing of funds disbursed by the federal government for the payment of entitlements last year.
This week, the university was forced to postpone, indefinitely, its convocation earlier scheduled to hold between February 19 and 22.
“They came around midnight and surrounded the entire house,” a family member, who did not want to be named, said.
“Initially, he did not want to open the door to them. We were all inside and some of the landlords in the environment came out. The security men who came with guns and clutching their walkie-talkies identified themselves to the landlords that they were from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Ikeja Division and acting on ‘orders from above.”
“Eventually when the threat became unbearable, and for the security of the members of his family, he surrendered to them. The invaders then dropped address with the family, whisked him away and took him to their Ikeja Office where he also met another Union leader, Mr Adekola Adetomiwa, who has also been arrested and detained.”
Kehinde Ajibade, the Chairman of the university’s Non-Academic Staff Union, confirmed the arrests.
“We don’t know the reason for the arrests, we are on our way now to the State CID to find out but any arrests at this time can never be exempted from the struggle,” Mr. Ajibade said.
Last month, Mr. Adefolalu had alleged in a Facebook post that there were threats to his life and the leaders of the other unions in the school over issues bordering on their welfare.
According to him, instead of the university authorities to honour the agreement reached with the UNILAG union’s congress during a recent meeting, the Vice-Chancellor had resorted to blackmail and threats, while handing the union leader’s telephone numbers to security operatives.
“On 9th January, 2018, at about 14:29, I received a call from ‘0803xxxxxxx’ inviting me for security meeting at Alpha Base, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos. I politely asked him that on what ground? The question the caller was unable to answer. The voice replied to call me back. Later in the day, another call was made that I should report to the Commissioner of Police Office at Ikeja, for another security meeting,” Mr. Adefolalu had written.
“This morning, when my phone was on, I saw another text message dated 9th January, 2018 at 21:01 stated therein that “You are invited to a security meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State. Time: 10am Venue: Conference Hall, Police Headquarters, Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja, Lagos”. No further details.
“I couldn’t bother to return the text, because I believe if the Commissioner of Police would invite me for security meeting, he shouldn’t be through a text message. I begin to sense a foul play.”
The university did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Phone calls to Taiwo Oloyede, the university’s Principal Assistant Registrar, Information, did not go through.
A message to their official Facebook page was not answered.
Chike Oti, the Lagos police spokesperson, said he was at a function and cannot immediately respond to questions.,