…Fixes date for the graduation of ex-students

The Management and Council of the University of Lagos, Unilag, has fixed the date for the graduation ceremony of their former students following persistent pressures from a social right group, Citizens’ Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, CASER and a Nigerian-American good governance advocate, Mr. Toyin Dawodu.

Mr. Dawodu, who is based in Riverside, California, USA, had gotten in touch with the Head of CASER, Barrister Frank Tietie, who is also the Principal Associate of Forthright Chambers, Abuja, for him to intervene over the failure of the University of Lagos to conduct a convocation ceremony and issue certificates to its over 13,000 graduating students of 2018/19.

According to Barrister Tietie, the worst affected by the failure of the institution to issue certificates to its graduates are medical students who were not allowed to go for their NYSC service as the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria denied them clearance because of the non-issuance of their certificates.

Barrister Tietie had written demand letters to the Minister of Education and the Registrar and Secretary of the Governing Council of University of Lagos giving them ultimatum to issue certificates to the students or face public interest civil action.

Mr. Dawodu, not being satisfied with the lack of response from the Federal Ministry of Education, further caused his lawyers to visit the University of Lagos on the 20th of April, 2021, where his legal representative, Frank Tietie met the Oladejo Azeez, the Registrar and Secretary to Council of the University of Lagos and submitted a formal complaint with an oral application, demanding for the immediate conduct of  a Convocation Ceremony and/or issuance certificates to the 2019 graduates of the university or face a public interest lawsuit within seven (7) days of service of the complaint.

They followed up with a joint press briefing by Mr. Dawodu (via Zoom from Riverside, California, USA) and his counsel, Frank Tietie, (in Abuja, Nigeria) on the 22nd of April, 2021 to address a cross section of the Nigerian press, on the need to put pressure on the authorities of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Council of University of Lagos to ensure the immediate conduct of a Convocation Ceremony and/or issuance certificates to the 2019 graduates of the University of Lagos.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on behalf of Toyin Dawodu, the CASER Boss said they have recorded a significant success as the University of Lagos, on the 29th of April, 2021, announced that it will hold its 51st Convocation Ceremony, starting from June 30th to July 9th, 2021, for the graduates of 2019.

He described this development as “victory for public interest advocacy.”

According to Barrister Tietie, “Mr. Dawodu is happy with the recent declaration of the University of Lagos to now hold the convocation on a definite date following the intense pressure mounted on it by the Nigerian press.”

He expressed appreciation to several media organisations, including the Nigerian Pilot that mounted pressure on Unilag to conduct convocation ceremony.

“The above media houses gave wide and consistent reportage on the need for the authorities of the University of Lagos to urgently conduct a Convocation Ceremony and/or issuance of certificates to the 2019 graduates of the university.”

Mr. Dawodu maintained that he initiated the campaign/advocacy and intended public interest litigation on behalf of the 2019 graduates of the university of Lagos, especially graduates of the College of Medicine because he became aware of their plight, deprivations and sufferings resulting from the delay in the issuance of the certificates yet, they couldn’t complain publicly out of fear of victimization.

He wondered why the graduates of the university should unnecessarily suffer as a result of the needless feud between the Babalakin-led Council and the Management of the University of Lagos.

  1. Dawodu further urged other Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions to desist from the untoward practice of delaying the issuance of certificates to graduates but they should follow the example of the Council of Legal Education (The Nigerian Law School) which is known to always issue high grade and security standard certificates, immediately to its graduates to enable them to be called to the Nigerian Bar, every year, by the Nigerian Body of Benchers.

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