An Osogbo Magistrate’s Court in Osun state on Friday discharged and acquitted 19 of the 25 workers of the Osun State University accused of staging a peaceful protest against the university management.
Union leaders and members of the institution had in 2018 protested alleged unpaid entitlements and financial impropriety of the university Vice Chancellor, Prof Labo Popoola.
The defendants had through their counsel, Amole Joseph entered a no case submission after the Prosecutor, Mr Moses Faremi of the State Ministry of Justice had established his case.
Delivering his ruling on the no case submission, Magistrate Opeyemi Badmus declared that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against 19 of the 25 workers. Badmus said the 16 workers have no case to answer and therefore, freed them.
The 19 freed UNIOSUN staff members are Isaiah Fayemi, Olabiran Olayinka, Tiamiyu Qwowiyu, Adefemi Lateef, Olayinka Oluwafemi, Ogunleye Yewande, Raji Kareem, Adeleke Ismaheel, Ojeleke Fisayo, Ojoniyi Temitope, Owooh Hameed, Lawal Dauda, Olokooba Ajani, Dada Kunmi, Adebayo John, Adeyemo Olusola, Lawal Basiru, Adekanye Sola and Eweje Timi.
Mr Badmus said six other union members, whose vehicles were allegedly used to block the road during the peaceful protest should enter their defence, since the prosecutor had established a prima facie case against them.
The six defendants include Adiat Kadir, Odeniyi Olakunle, Adewuyi Saheed, Abiodun Olalekan, Ajulo Adetunji and Kayode Adeboye.
The twenty-five interdicted workers of the institution including principal officers of the school’s Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) were accused of assembling unlawfully on 22nd of November, 2018 at 6am on the university with the purpose of disturbing the peace of the campus.
Faremi argued that the defendants blocked the lawful entry of students and invited guests by using different types of cars.
According to the prosecution, the offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 518(5), 70, 249(3), 71 and 518(7) of Criminal Code, Laws of Osun State, 2002.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the four count-charge slammed against them while arguing that they were only fighting corruption in the university through peaceful protest. The affected workers said they have been denied their full salaries and other privileges since the protest in 2018.
The court adjourned the matter till September 16 for the six workers to enter defence.