LASU Denies Witch Hunt in PhD Certificate Withdrawal

Professor John Obafunwa, Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, LASU, has denied allegations of witch-hunting in the process culminating in the withdrawal of 18 PhD certificates from some of the institutions’ graduates.

Obafunwa who stated this while addressing journalists in Lagos on Monday, spoke against the backdrop of claims by the Academic Staff Union of Universities that the certificate withdrawal exercise was meant to embarrass Dr. Adekunle Idris, the LASU-ASUU Chairman.

ASUU leadership insist that the university authority decided to withdraw Idris’ PhD as a means of getting back at him for the role he played in the call for the reversal of tuition in the school earlier in the year.

Prior to the reversal of tuition, an undergraduate student in the school paid between N150,000 and N350,000, depending on the course of study, as tuition as opposed to the current fee of N25,000.

However, Obafunwa said contrary to the claims of ASUU, the university management was only interested in cleansing the rot it met in LASU.

The Vice Chancellor explained that before he assumed office in LASU in 2011, the university had experienced certain challenges bordering on certificate, transcript and admission problems.

He added that there were also issues with record keeping, staffing and infrastructure.

Obafunwa said the current exercise was necessitated by the fact that somebody had come up complaining that she obtained a PhD she did not apply or study for. “She obtained a PhD in Business Administration (Marketing), whereas she applied for a PhD in International Business. That is what brought about the certificate review/screening,” Obafunwa said.

The LASU VC added, “I recall that in one of the Senate meetings, someone said that we should overlook these things because it would put LASU in bad light, but others said no. We should be bold enough to admit that certain things went wrong within the system and deal with such.

“The leadership of the university is fighting a genuine cause. It is not targeting or seeking to victimise any individual. As we speak, a committee has been set up to look into the issue and its members have two weeks to do what they have to do.

“I can assure you that when we identify anything, this vice-chancellor will be bold enough to make it public. On Idris particularly, I do not want to say much. When we get to the court, certain things will be revealed there.”

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