The Governing Council of the University of Lagos has announced the appointment of Prof. Theophilus Soyombo as the acting Vice-Chancellor of the institution.
The announcement of Soyombo as the VC was contained in a statement issued at 12:05 am on Thursday by the Registrar and Secretary to the Council, Oladejo Azeez.
He advised the public to totally disregard the statement attributed to Ogundipe denying his removal.
The statement reads, “Members of the public are hereby advised to totally disregard the statement attributed to the said former vice-chancellor. The position remains that he was lawfully removed by the Governing Council at a meeting fully attended by all Council members.
“I also wish to use the opportunity to inform members of the public that Council at the said meeting duly appointed Professor Theophilus Omololu Soyombo of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos as Vice-Chancellor of the university in an acting capacity.
However, the action of the governing council appears contrary to the law establishing the university. The law vests the power to remove a vice-chancellor on the Nigerian president.
On the grounds of misconduct or of inability to perform, section 17(1) of the university’s establishment law empowers the Council to recommend the removal of any of its members to the president, who thereafter decides, in writing, whether or not the council’s recommendation should stand.
Also, section 3(8) of the first schedule of the same act vests the power to remove the vice-chancellor on the president of the country “after due consultation with the Council and the Senate acting through the Minister of Education.”
In other words, only the president has the power to remove the vice-chancellor from office.
Also, the ministry of education through its director of press, Ben Goong, said the ministry is yet to be briefed on the removal of the vice-chancellor by the council.
“While the ministry waits for the proper briefing from the university authorities, it is important to reaffirm that council has the power to hire and fire, but that due process must be followed in doing so,” Mr Goong said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the amended universities miscellaneous act of 2003 requires the governing council to set up a joint committee of itself and the university senate before a recommendation to remove a vice-chancellor can be forwarded to the president.
However, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, said the law specific to the university takes preference.