Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Report Absolves OAU Parks & Gardens Unit Head Of Alleged Wrongdoings

Mr Ajiteru
Allegations contained in the petition written against the Head of the Obafemi Awolowo University Parks and Gardens Unit, Mr O. H. Ajiteru by some casual workers of the unit are not true and cannot be proved beyond doubt, the task force saddled with the responsibility of investigating the claims have submitted.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Professor Anthony Elujoba had requested, through the Chairperson, on 5th November 2016 that the Task Force on Parks and Gardens Unit investigate the veracity of the claims in a petition he received from some casual workers in the Unit and to submit the report along with the initial assignment given to the Task Force.

Part of the allegations against the Unit Head include the collection of one thousand Naira (N1, 000.00) each from about 300 casual workers, collection of three hundred Naira (N300.00) each from every casual staff every month to purchase one compact disc needed to process their wages, illegal sales and use of flowers meant for university work to private institutions and that Mr Ajiteru was also involved in illegal felling and sale of trees on the University estate.

Other allegations include that Mr Ajiteru collected one hundred thousand Naira (N100,000.00) from clearing contractors which he refused to share with the workers in the Unit and marking the casual workers absent even when they were present, which eventually affected the amount of their wages.

In the report of its findings, the taskforce said it invited for interaction, all the persons that signed the petition letter, the Head of the Unit, Mr. O. H. Ajiteru, all workers in the Unit mentioned in the letter, Chief Security Officer or his representative, Manager, Wema Bank OAU branch or his representative and other persons whose names were mentioned in the course of the interactions.

According to the taskforce, after hearing all parties involved, it realized that most of the allegations against Ajiteru were not true.

“Most of their allegations, for example, contribution of N1000.00 instead of N600.00 for end of year party and N300.00 monthly instead of yearly for disc and welfare, were actually not true and the issue of inappropriate deduction of their wages could not be proved beyond any reasonable doubt as the person marking the register confirmed that they were marked absent when they were really absent.

“Mr. Ajiteru was not directly involved in the initiation, collection and disbursement of the money contributed by the casual workers.

“There has been a lot of laxity in the control of the casual workers because Mr. Ajiteru was not given the free hand to discipline erring workers by the former DVC Administration, Prof. O. Ajayi, who personally addressed the workers, undermining Mr. Ajiteru’s leadership duty,” read the report.

The taskforce however recommended that “casual workers in the Parks and Gardens Unit are not prima facie members of staff of the University and they should be made to realize this. Petitions from them should end with the Director, Division of Works and Maintenance Services (DWMS), who is the overall boss of the Unit. They should not have any direct access to the Vice-Chancellor.” Other recommendations include that the petitioners should be warned to obey the Head of the Unit, failure of which their service should be dispensed with.

Members of the taskforce on Parks and Gardens Unit include Prof. O. O. Orafidiya (Chairperson), Dr. [Mrs] E.F. Aransiola (Member), Dr. A.M. Makinde (Member), Dr. A.O. Adesoji (Member) and Mr. O. Aina (Secretary).

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