In the State High Court 1, Ede
CHARGE: That you, Prof. A. A. Elujoba, M, adult, residing in Ile-Ife, is accused of Misappropriating or Misapplying the sum of N1.4b as the Acting Vice-Chancellor of OAU, sometimes last year, contrary to Section 104 of the Criminal Code (CC), CAP 38, 2004. Are you guilty or not?
Elujoba: I plead Not Guilty my Lord.
(1) I never lobbied or vied when I was appointed as the Acting Vice-Chancellor of OAU. As a matter, Your Lordship, I was to proceed on Sabbatical/Retirement Leave at the University of Ibadan (Exhibit 1: Sabbatical Offer, Exhibit 2: My Acceptance of Sabbatical Offer).
(2) My immediate mandate as the Acting Vice-Chancellor was to restore industrial peace to OAU at all costs (Exhibit 3: Letter of Appointment as the Acting Vice-Chancellor).
(3) OAU workers presented convincing documents confirming illegal deductions of their Pensions and Salaries to me (Exhibit 4: Lodgements of Pension Deductions from 2004)
(4) With the assistance of OAU workers, my administration tracked the illegally deducted funds and others hidden funds by my predecessors to some commercial banks in Osun State (Exhibit 5: Accounts Details).
(5) Aggrieved OAU Workers threatened to inflict grievous harms on the five Principal Officers (Prof. B. I. Omole [immediate past VC], Prof. T. A. Salami [DVC Academic], Prof. Ajayi [DVC Administration], Mrs. Josephine Akeredolu [Bursar], Mr. Awoyemi [Registrar] who they believed connived to deny them lawful access to the monies illegally deducted. In fact, the duo of Mr. Awoyemi and Mrs. Akeredolu were rough-handled and physically assaulted by some aggrieved non-teaching staff at Floor 0 (Exhibit 6: Video Tape)
(6) The grievances of OAU workers culminated into near-violent daily protests paralyzed activities for months and situations degenerated to the extent that Ooni of IFE’s interventions were rebuffed.
(7) All my appeals for calm resolutions of the quagmire fell on workers’ deaf ears and I considered my life seriously unsafe to the extent that I wrote a letter threatening to resign my Appointment as the Acting Vice-Chancellor (Exhibit 7: My Promissory Note).
(8) As the Acting Vice-Chancellor, I had no Governing Council to work with for months, except the University Senate.
(9) I instituted various Task Forces to ascertain claims of deep-seated corrupt practices in OAU (Exhibit 8: Reports of Task Forces adopted by Senate).
(10) To appease the aggrieved workers, my administration proposed the pro-rated palliatives of N150,000 to Junior Staff and N300,000 to Senior Staff to the University Senate, pending the determination of the actual amount illegally deducted from salaries/pensions (Exhibit 9: Proposal to Senate).
(11) The Senate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, a statutory body duly approved the proposal and directed payments to all staff categories (Exhibit 10: Minutes of Senate Meeting).
(12) A total sum of N1.4billion was disbursed to all staff categories in the University sometimes in 2016 as directed by the university Senate (Exhibit 11: Payslips).
(13) Shortly thereafter, I received a letter from the EFCC accusing me of fraud (Exhibit 12: Letter from EFCC).
(14) Individuals from the EFCC Ibadan started calling my phone harassing me to settle them which I didn’t oblige (Exhibit 13: Callers’ Phone numbers. Exhibit 14: Recorded Conversations. Exhibit 15: Call Logs to be requested).
(15) I have honoured EFCC’s invitations severally and have been unlawfully detained for days.
CROSS-EXAMINATIONS, WITNESSES, ETC
Verdict: Even though your action inadvertently violates S104 in part, THIS HONOURABLE COURT IS compelled to reason as follows:
(1) that your action was not done for the purposes of self-enrichment or personal gains as envisaged by the S104 of CC,
(2) that your action was done in tandem with your mandate of restoring peace to OAU as the Acting Vice-Chancellor,
(3) that your action was in obedience of a competent authority, the OAU Senate, which you’re bound to obey in line with S32(2) of CC,
(4) that your action is “considered reasonably necessary in order to resist actual and unlawful violence to you or another person,” especially the 2nd accused, the Bursar, in your presence in line with S32 of CC,
(5) that your action was to save yourself from immediate death or grievous harm threatened to be inflicted on you by some aggrieved workers, in line with S32 of CC,
(6) that your action does not constitute an offence punishable with death,
(7) that your action was the best in the “extraordinary emergency” your appointment as the Acting Vice-Chancellor has put you in line with S26 of CC,
(8) that your action constitutes a “Mistake of Fact” which made you rightly believe that hidden funds were illegal deductions from OAU workers’ Pensions and Salaries in line with S25 of CC,
(9) that your action was done with noble intention, which is important element of S104, and
(10) that your action was informed by the mounting documents proving that OAU workers, including yourself, enjoy “Bonafide Claim of Right” to the hidden funds in line with S23 of CC.
In view of the foregoing, this honourable Court finds you NOT GUILTY and therefore ACQUITS you of every charge.
[Edited By Luqman Adekunle]