LASU clears air on alleged extortion
The attention of Lagos State University Management has been drawn to an article by an online medium “alleging that LASU is extorting millions of Naira from 2019/2020 graduates in the name of COVID-19 protocol”, ostensibly referring to the University’s directive for recent graduates to apply for and collect their certificates via courier service, as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Two allegations were made in the overtly malicious publication that needs to be addressed in order to set the records straight: the allegation that the University is extorting millions of naira from the graduates without delivering their certificates via courier as promised and the allegation that COVID-19 guidelines and protocols were disregarded in the process of issuing certificates to the graduates on the university campus.
The allegation of extortion by the University is not only mischievous and malicious, but also misleading. The writer ill-intent in publishing the story is obvious in the face of the facts that the innovative and proactive step by the University to forestall the outbreak/spread of covid-19 on her campus informed the directive to students, months ago, precisely around October 2020, to apply for their certificates and have them delivered via courier. Contrary to the falsehood/claim that the University did not send the certificates for those who had paid for the delivery, we confirm that a good number of graduates have received their certificates via courier and those of other applicants are also being processed for delivery. In fact, most of the applicants would have had their certificates delivered to them if not for the three weeks JAC National Industrial Action in the universities that delayed the processing.
However, on getting wind of the report that the NYSC camp would soon open, some applicants who were yet to receive their certificates, turned up at the University campus eager to physically collect their certificates. Even some graduates from previous sets who are not affected by the development also came down adding to the number. Officials at the Certificate Office were left with no other option than to attend to those affected in order that they might meet up with the NYSC camp deadline.
This background is provided to reiterate the fact that the University did not extort her graduates as alleged. Many graduates have received their certificates through courier and those who are yet to, are the ones on campus and are being attended to by officials of the Certificate Office.
On the disregard for COVID-19 guidelines, it is imperative to state that the University takes the enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines seriously, hence the directive for certificate collection through courier service in the first place. This is also evidenced in the fact that the use of facemask is compulsory to gain entrance into her campus and facilities within it, as is the washing of hands.
However, the enforcement of these guidelines is only effective when complemented with the act of taking personal responsibility. It is on record that LASU is one of the first Universities in Nigeria to establish and enforce clearly defined COVID-19 prevention policies; allegations to the contrary, in this case, is, therefore, untrue and should be disregarded.
As a University, the safety of our staff, students and visitors remain a priority just as our commitment to upholding accountability and standards of service delivery remains strong.
Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations,
Lagos State University.
8th March, 2021